Malaysia suffered defeat at the hands of Hong Kong in their 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers match last night.
The Tigers, down to 10-men after captain Safiq Rahim received a red card, were trashed 2-0 by the hosts, jeopardising Malaysia’s Asian Cup dreams.
Malaysia was forced to employ a 4-6-0 formation for the match, after all three options – Hazwan Bakri, Shahrel Fikri, and Darren Lok were unable to play due to injury.
That did not go very well for the Tigers. It took them some time to get used to the new formation, while Hong Kong kept charging at the Tigers with attack after attack.
Five minutes before half-time, things got from bad to worse for Malaysia after Safiq Rahim’s boots landed on Cancela who was sliding in to win the ball, and the referee gave the Malaysian captain a red card.
Shortly after that, Tarres gave Hong Kong the lead after he headed in a free-kick from Wong Wai just before half-time.
Hong Kong doubled their lead just minutes into the second half after Jaimes McKee headed in a cross from Deshuai, sealing the win for the hosts.
“This is what happens when we lack strikers, we had to leave two behind and then we had to play without any striker (after Darren Lok got injured).” Harian Metro quoted head coach Nelo Vingada as saying.
“If did affect our game, even though we could have really made something work.” he added.
“But it’s not an excuse, I hope this will teach us to be better prepared for the upcoming matches.”
When asked about Safiq’s red card, Vingada said he’s sure that Safiq did not mean to harm the Hong Kong player. However, he agrees that the referee made the right call.
“I didn’t really see what happened, I think Safiq stepped on him but it was unintentional. I don’t think Safiq meant to hurt him.”
“I think the referee did a great job throughout the match, and I wish to congratulate Hong Kong on the victory.” Vingada said.