PETALING JAYA: Malaysia revived their hopes of qualifying for the AFC Under-23 Championship quarter-finals after holding Jordan to a 1-1 draw in a Group C match at the Changshu Stadium.
And expect another surprise when Malaysia clash with Saudi Arabia in the final group match on Tuesday.
Yesterday, striker Safawi Rasid turned hero by slotting in the equaliser from a spot-kick in the 43rd minute after Jordan went ahead through Ward Al Barri in the 16th minute.
Debutants Malaysia could have collected full points but were denied twice in the second half by the goalpost.
Striker Akhyar Rashid hit the left post in the 66th minute while right winger Matthew Davies was denied by the right upright in the 73rd minute.
With the draw, Malaysia remain at the bottom of Group C with a point.
Iraq top the group with four points while Saudi Arabia are second on goal difference ahead of Jordan, with both teams having two points.
The top two teams will advance to the knockout stage.
National Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is optimistic about the teams’ chances.
He was happy that they played much better than their opening match against Iraq on Wednesday which they lost 1-4.
“The boys showed character today.
“Before today’s game, nobody gave us any hope.
“We almost snatched three points from Jordan, so overall I’m proud of the boys,” said Kim Swee.
“Of course, luck played its role too.
“The players worked very, very hard.
“We had two chances but if we don’t convert, we don’t win.”
“The late penalty helped us. It gave us the confidence and I’m glad that we managed to get at least one point.”
“I believe we can surprise and create chances against Saudi Arabia if we can play like how we played against Jordan.
“They played to their strengths against Jordan today.”
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