KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11: Malaysia beat Cambodia 3-0 today for their second straight win in Group B of the 2019 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-18 championship in Vietnam.
Brad Maloney’s boys had defeated Singapore 3-1 last Friday for their first group win, after they had gone down to hosts Vietnam 0-1 in their opening match two days earlier.
In today’s match at Stadium Thanh Long, Maloney’s decision to make drastic changes to the starting eleven of the defending champions paid off handsomely as they scored all three goals in the first half.
Skipper Muhammad Mukhairi Ajmal put them into the lead in the 18th minute with a stunning goal from outside the penalty box before striker Muhd Muslihuddin Atiq added another by tricking Cambodian goalkeeper Vireak Dara to easily slot the ball home in the 38th minute.
Defender Muhammad Firdaus Ramli gave Malaysia a comfortable lead in injury time of the first half when his freekick from the left side of the opponents’ goalmouth failed to be punched clear by Dara.
Malaysia had their chances to score in the second half but were thwarted by Cambodia’s defenders and Dara.
The win over Cambodia is a tonic for Malaysia, who have two matches left, especially the one on Thursday against Thailand, who had lost 3-4 to Cambodia.
Malaysia’s next match is on Tuesday against four-time champions Australia, who have collected the maximum six points in two matches so far. Australia play Thailand tonight.