Asian Qualifiers: Malaysia 7-1 Timor-Leste
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia surely confirmed their place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Joint Qualification with a 7-1 win over Timor-Leste in the first leg of their preliminary round tie on Friday.
A strong showing in the first half laid the foundation for Malaysia's win, with the home team taking a 4-0 lead into the half time break at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
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Malaysia took control of the game from the get-go and went ahead just 12 minutes into the game through Lawrence Corbin Ong's effort.
Muhammad Shahrel Fikri came off the bench in the 14th minute to replace Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad, and the forward proved his worth nine minutes later when he doubled the scoreline.
Timor-Leste then tightened their defence but Malaysia's constant pressure saw them conceding twice just before the break as Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Muhammad Safawi Rasid made it 4-0 in a two-minute spell.
Timor-Leste, however, started the second half brightly and seven minutes into the restart, captain Joao Da Silva Freitas broke free on the left and slotted past Malaysian 'keeper Farizal Marlias.
However, their hopes of making a comeback were dashed when Safawi Rasid restored Malaysia's four-goal advantage by tapping in Muhamadou Sumareh's cross.
With 15 minutes on the clock, Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe sent on Mohd Faiz Nasir and three minutes in, the substitute volleyed the ball home, courtesy of Matthew Davies' pin-point cross into the penalty area.
Another substitute, Muhammad Akhyar Rashid, then scored the last goal of the night a minute before full-time to end a spectacular night for the Malaysians.
Note: Timor-Leste are ineligible to participate in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, after the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee expelled the Federacao Futebol Timor-Leste from the tournament in January 20, 2017, for fielding ineligible players. Their participation is for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 only.
Photos: Football Association of Malaysia
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