PETALING JAYA: Malaysia put themselves in a good position to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Group G favourites Thailand at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Inspired by tireless midfielder Brendan Gan, Harimau Malaya did not allow a seventh-minute strike by Chanathip Songkrasin in the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifier to break their resolve.
Man-of-the-match Brendan first equalised via a left-footed effort in the 26th minute before turning provider for Mohamadou Sumareh with an exquisite lobbed-assist.
Sumareh’s winner came in the 57th minute.
The win is Malaysia’s first over the War Elephants since 2004.
Coach Tan Cheng Hoe lauded the players’ never-say-die attitude.
“This result wouldn’t have been possible if they didn’t fight till the end,” he told Astro Arena.
Cheng Hoe’s men next take on Indonesia in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.
With Vietnam beating UAE 1-0 in Hanoi, Malaysia now have a chance of making the third qualifying round as one of the four best fourth-placed teams.
Eight group winners and four best runners-up also advance to the 12-team final World Cup qualifying round.
Malaysia currently have six points – same as third-placed UAE and one less than Thailand. Group leaders Vietnam are on 10 points.