KUALA LUMPUR: The national football team, for once, played like Barcelona.
And no, it isn’t an April Fool’s joke.
Expectations were high on world No. 178 Malaysia to win against Bhutan – although it was only a friendly match but they duly delivered.
Captain Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak scored four goals as he powered Malaysia to a 7-0 thrashing of Bhutan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
And the win saw Malaysia finally end their 12-match winless run on the international stage since November 2016.
The result also surpassed Malaysia’s previous biggest victory – beating Sri Lanka 6-0 in April 2012, also in a friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium.
The fixture against the world No. 188 Bhutan – who conceded 39 goals in their recent six matches – was certainly a mismatch from the start.
The visitors’ nightmare began just after 10 minutes when Wan Zack Haikal gave Malaysia a flying start when he headed home a corner kick from Zaquan.
Malaysia didn’t take long to double the lead when Zaquan opened his scoring account in the 19th minute by duly converting a spot-kick after Wan Zack was brought down by Bhutan defender Chimi Dorji.
Centreback Irfan Zakaria, making his only second appearance for Harimau Malaya after debuting against Lebanon, also earned his piece of the goal feast.
The Kuala Lumpur player scored in an almost identical fashion as the opening, heading in from a corner set-piece from Wan Zack in the 27th minute.
But the night clearly belonged to Zaquan, who continued his scoring spree to complete his treble just before half-time.
The goals came in quick succession – in the 36th and 39th – for him to become the first player to claim an international hattrick since Ahmad Hazwan Bakri in Malaysia’s comprehensive win against Sri Lanka.
Zaquan, however, went one better by notching his fourth goal 10 minutes into the second half.
Bhutan did have their chance to secure a consolation goal just before the half-time whistle, but their midfielder Diwash Subba failed to capitalised on the poor back pass from Irfan.
Syafiq Ahmad, who scored in the 2-1 defeat against Lebanon, got himself into the scoresheet with Malaysia’s seventh goal to complete the rout.