Malaysia shoot blanks in Manila

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

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