Malaysia U23 get AFC, SEA Games boost with 2-0 win vs. Myanmar
Malaysia's Under-23 side received a confidence boost for two upcoming tournaments with a 2-0 victory over Myanmar U23 in a friendly at a soggy Shah Alam on Thursday night.
Goals in either half gave Datuk Ong Kim's side a well-deserved win against Gerd Zeise's visitors.
The result was achieved despite a disrupted build up, with clubs reluctant to release their players, due to ongoing Malaysia Super League and Malaysia Cup commitments.
Thursday's team was missing key starters from three MSL outfits -- Johor Darul Ta'zim, Pahang and Penang.
But the home side began brightly in front of a sparse crowd at Shah Alam Stadium, and went ahead in the 26th minute through N. Thanabalan, of Negeri Sembilan.
They had more opportunities to add to their lead until a massive storm just before half-time turned the pitch into a quagmire.
Malaysia had to wait until the 87th minute to make sure of their victory.
After some impressive pressing, the Malaysians hit Myanmar on the counter attack. This time, the impressive Thanabalan turned provider for Danial Ashraf, of Kelantan, to score.
Ong would have been satisfied with his team's performance, despite a rain-soaked pitch that made possession football challenging.
The Malaysians will leave for Bangkok on July 17, ahead of the 2018 AFC U23 qualifying tournament. After playing Indonesia on July 19, they will face Thailand on July 21 before finishing their Group H campaign against Mongolia two days later.
Those who qualify will play in the AFC U23 Championship in China in January.
After that, Malaysia will be the host nation for men's football in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, starting on Aug. 14.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.