PETALING JAYA: National Under-23 coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is relieved that his players came out unscathed in the 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their final friendly match ahead of the Indonesia Asiad.
The national team were leading 2-0 with goals from Safawi Rasid (27th minute) and Akhyar Rashid (64th) when the UAE players resorted to cynical tackles towards the end of the match.
UAE midfielder Mohammed Khalfan Al-Harazi sparked a free-for-all after elbowing Malaysian defender Adib Zainuddin, with even the UAE’s backroom staff getting involved and throwing a chair in the ruckus.
“There’re no major injuries to the players from the incident and I really hope our players will be injury free before we fly out to Indonesia,” said Kim Swee after the match.
“We’ve played Middle East sides many times and they just couldn’t accept losing to us. When they lose, they will resort to provocations.
“This incident was started by our opponent and of course, the players and coaching staff will try to defend ourselves. We didn’t provoke them in any way and the melee was not started by our player.”
Kim Swee hopes the incident will serve as a lesson to his players, especially in the Asian Games football competition which kicks off in Bandung on Aug 15.
Malaysia are drawn in Group E with defending champions South Korea, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain and will fly to Bandung tomorrow.
“Our players need to learn to control themselves in situations like this.
“I’m more focused on the way we played and the outcome is definitely a good one for us,” said the former international.
“In the second half, UAE fielded their best players but we kept our discipline and stopped them from scoring and it’s a very positive sign for us.”
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