Malaysia shoot blanks in Manila
MALAYSIA were organised defensively but lacked the cutting edge in attack as they settled for a 0-0 draw with the Philippines in a friendly at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila yesterday.
Ong Kim Swee’s side were cautious and tight in their own half , but did not manage a single shot on target against Filipino custodian Neil Etheridge.
It is Malaysia’s fifth straight draw with the Philippines with the last four ending without goals.
“They controlled the first half but we did so in some periods after the breather. The draw served our purpose here... we earned a draw and one ranking point away from home,” said Kim Swee yesterday.
“My defenders and midfielders were calm in easing off pressure from the Philippines. It was an equal game and a fair result. However, we need to look at our finishing.”
Kim Swee opted for the 4-3-3 and 4-1-41 formations by starting goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid, Shahrom Kalam, Ronny Harun, Khair Jones, Rizal Ghazali, Shahrul Saad, Amri Yahyah, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Syazwan Zainon and Safee Sali.
In the 17th minute, Javier Patino wasted a golden opportunity to put the Philippines ahead when he shot straight to Malaysian custodian Khairul Azhan from close range before the keeper denied Philip Younghusband’s powerful drive three minutes later.
Malaysia’s only good chance before the breather was in the 38th minute but captain Amri ballooned his shot from inside the box.
In different periods of the second half, Kim Swee put on Khairul Helmi Johari, Hadin Azman, Matthew Davies, S. Veenod and Akram Mahinan, and also handed keeper Hafizul Hakim his first cap.
Veenod’s introduction added more pace and the Selangor midfielder should have scored his first international goal in the 89th minute. He was set up inside the box with enough space but he shot wide.
The team will return to Kuala Lumpur today.
Malaysia have failed to score against the Philippines in their last four matches.