Malaysia get reality check after being routed by Oman in friendly
Suzuki Cup finalists Malaysia were handed a reality check after an inexperienced line-up fell to a 6-0 defeat to Oman in an international friendly in Muscat on Thursday night.
For the Omanis, it was a solid first step towards forgetting their AFC Asian Cup disappointment, in which they bowed out in the group stages of January's tournament in Australia.
Braces from Abdulaziz Al Muqbali and Yaqoob Abdulkarim, a Qasim Said strike and a late Mohsin Johar penalty capped off the easiest of wins for an Omani side that, in truth, could have scored many more.
They finished the tournament with a 1-0 win over Kuwait, but their French coach Paul Le Guen conceded it had been a disappointing trip Down Under and they were keen to put that behind them against a Malaysian side making their first appearance of 2015.
Malaysia's last competitive hit-out was a 4-3 aggregate loss to Thailand in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup in December.
The Tigers were missing some experienced talent, including midfielders Shukor Adan and Gary Robbat, and coach Dollah Salleh said in the lead up he was more concerned by the performance than the result.
Unfortunately, either way Dollah viewed it, this was a poor night in a match that resembled men against boys and showed Malaysia how much work they need to do before their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign begins later this year.
Oman dominated possession in the early stages and tried to play an up-tempo style against a Malaysian line-up that held its shape well in the opening 10 minutes.
Malaysia actually had the first shot on target, with lone striker Norshahrul Talaha put into space in the 13th minute, with his strike directed straight at Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.
It was an early warning for the home side and one they would heed in quick time. Two minutes later, they were in front.
In a move that started deep in their own half, the Omanis put together a series of passes that prised open the Malaysian side.
Ahmed Mubarak's through ball fell to Qasim, who was unable to shake free of his defender. But the ball sat kindly for Yaqoob, who unleashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
In the 34th minute Al Muqbali produced an inexplicable miss he won't want to see again. Having rounded the keeper he only needed to guide the ball into the net, but he pushed it wide of the left post.
In the shadows of half-time, Oman found their second goal, although it was scarcely deserved.
Defender S. Kunanlan was harshly judged to have brought down Eid Al Farsi as he was moving away from goal and looking to lay the ball off.
Al Muqbali sent keeper Farizal Marlias the wrong way as Oman took a 2-0 lead into the break, with the Oman striker picking up his 15th goal for his country.
If Malaysia had plans of getting back into the contest, it took just one minute and 22 seconds of the second half for Oman to stretch their lead.
Dollah replaced Farizul with Khairul Azhan in goal at the break and his first task was picking the ball out of the net.
Qasim timed his run perfectly as a cross came in from the right, burying it from close distance past Azhan.
Al Muqbali grabbed his second with a left-footed finish in the 51st minute before Yaqoob's simple header and Mohsin's penalty completed the second half rout.