Malaysia win big to keep semis hopes alive

Hadi Fayyad pounces to put the Young Tigers 3-0 up. (Bernama pic)

MANILA: Malaysia finally found their winning touch when they beat Timor Leste 4-0 in a Group A football match at the SEA Games tonight.

Coach Ong Kim Swee fielded two national Under-18 stars – Luqman Hakim Shamsudin and Umar Hakeem – in the starting XI while Faisal Halim replaced the injured Akhyar Rashid.

Malaysia began aggressively at the Rizal Memorial Stadium but it took an own goal by Filomeno Junior da Costa for them to take the lead in the fifth minute.

Striker Hadi Fayyad Razak then increased the lead when he converted a short pass from Syahmi Safari in the 34th minute.

The 19-year-old scored again in the 44th minute, latching on to sweep home the ball which bounced off the post following Faisal’s attempt.

After the interval, Kim Swee brought Akhyar on for Faisal.

The Johor Darul Ta’zim winger justified his presence by scoring off a beautiful pass from substitute R. Kogisleswaran in the 81st minute to wrap the match up.

Malaysia drew 1-1 with Myanmar on Monday before being shocked by Philippines 1-0 on Friday.

In another Group A match, Myanmar edged Cambodia 2-1 to confirm their semifinal spot.

The Young Tigers can expect a torrid time against Cambodia on Wednesday as both are fighting for the second last four berth.

Malaysia now lie third on goal difference although they are equal on four points with second-placed Cambodia.

Myanmar lead the group on 10 points.