Johor Darul Ta'zim's Mohd Amri Yahya (right) tussels for the ball with Pahang's R.Gopinathan during a Super League match at Larkin Stadium, Johor Baru. - File pic
PETALING JAYA: Newly-appointed Dollah Salleh’s first assignment as national team coach turned out to be a nightmare.
The Malaysians were handed a 4-1 thrashing by Tajikistan in a friendly at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe last night.
The Persian Lions scored through Davron Ergashev (15th minute), Khurshed Makhmudov (35th and 51st) and Nuriddin Davronov (53rd). Veteran striker Mohd Amri Yahya converted a spot-kick in the 45th minute for Malaysia’s consolation goal.
Tajikistan, the world No. 127, proved too strong for the 151st ranked Malaysia, who had trained for only seven days for the match.
Malaysia also struggled to get their footing as the match was played on an artificial pitch.
Tajikistan took only 15 minutes to find the net through defender Ergashev. Midfielder Makhmudov extended the lead 20 minutes later.
Amri gave Malaysia a glimmer of hope by reducing the deficit to 2-1 when he converted a penalty at the stroke of half-time after striker Mohd Safee Sali was felled in the box by a Tajikistan defender.
Tajikistan continued where they left off in the second half with Makhmudov bagging his second goal in the 51st minute. Midfield partner Davronov also put his name on the score sheet in the 53rd minute to snuff out any chance of a Malaysian fightback.
The national team will return to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and the players will return to their respective teams for the Malaysia Cup, which begins on Aug 13.
Dollah’s men will next play friendlies against Jordan (Oct 11) and New Zealand (Nov 18) before competing in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Singapore from Nov 23-Dec 20.