Malaysia edge Indonesia 4-3 in AFF Under-18 championship semis

Malaysia’s players jubilant after the final whistle. (FAM Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia bruised the ego of traditional archrivals Indonesia by scoring a dramatic 4-3 win in their semifinal clash at the Asean Football Federation Under-18 Championship in Vietnam today.

Defender Harith Haiqal Adam Afkar was Malaysia’s hero as his brace gives Malaysia a chance to defend their title.

In today’s clash at Stadium Binh Duong, Malaysia took the lead through Mohd Aiman Afif Md Afizul in the 19th minute after Indonesia had dominated the match from the opening whistle.

Indonesia, who made the last four as Group A champions, continued to control the game and launch attacks before finally equalising through an unmarked Beckham Putra Nugraha in the 45th minute.

Striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin, who scored two goals in Malaysia’s 3-0 win over Australia in a Group B match, again showed his killer instinct by letting fly a powerful shot in the 55th minute to beat Indonesian goalkeeper Ernando Ari Sutaryadi and put Malaysia back in the lead.

Malaysia’s joy, however, almost turned into a nightmare when Indonesia jumped into a 3-2 lead through two quick goals by Muhammad Fajar Fathur and Muhammad Salman Alfarid in the 80th and 82nd minutes respectively.

But just two minutes later Harith Haiqal came to Malaysia’s rescue when he coolly converted a penalty kick which was awarded after Muhd Muslihuddin Atiq Mat Zahid was felled inside the penalty box.

The score remained at 3-3 till the end, forcing the match into extra-time.

Harith Haiqal then capped a fine display by scoring the winning goal with a diving header in the 97th minute for victory.

Malaysia will play Australia, who defeated Myanmar 2-1 in the other semifinal, in the final on Monday.