KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Harimau Malaya squad only have themselves to blame for their 0-2 loss to Bahrain in a Tier 1 international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa early this morning.
Though Malaysia played well in the first half and had the first shot at goal in the 8th minute, the grounder by central defender Matthew Davies went straight to goalkeeper Shobar Alawi.
Bahrain nearly punished Malaysia in the 21st minute for poor defending, but the attempt by striker Mahdi Abduljabbar was blocked by Mohd Farizal Marlias.
Bahrain, ranked world number 98, also had an opportunity to take the lead in the 28th minute but Mahdi’s effort in putting the ball at the back of the net was ruled offside by the referee.
However, a mistake by central defender Muhammad Iran Zakaria in bringing down Mahdi in the penalty box proved costly as the referee did not hesitate to award a penalty kick.
The Manama Club striker coolly scored the penalty in the 41st minute to put the hosts ahead.
The national team nearly equalised in the first minute of first-half injury time but a header by Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad off a beautiful cross from the right by Matthew only sailed high.
Substitute player Mohd Jassim Marhoon added misery to Harimau Malaya when he scored Bahrain’s second goal in the 61st minute. The goal was a result of poor ball control by Farizal after receiving a back pass from naturalised player Liridon Krasniqi.
Malaysia’s best chance in the second half came in the 65th minute through Norshahrul Idlan Talaha but his attempt was saved by Sayed Shobar, after Malaysian captain Mohamad Aidil Zafuan Abd Radzak’s pass created a melee in the Bahrain defence.
Malaysia had also lost 1-4 to Kuwait in a warm-up match last Sunday in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
Malaysia, lying second in Group G of the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 second round qualifiers, will will play UAE on June 3, Vietnam on June 11 and Thailand on June 15 to wrap up their qualifying campaign.