KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia put in a commendable performance against world-number 80 China tonight, as they drew 1-1 in a Tier 1 international friendly at the Phoenix Hill Stadium in Chengdu, yesterday.
The result saw the Harimau Malaya - ranked 136th in the world - defend their unbeaten record in six friendly matches after recording four wins and one draw since March.
Kim Pan Gon’s men - who drew against Syria 2-2 on Wednesday (Sept 6) - stunned China through Darren Lok’s goal in the second minute, but it was disallowed after striker Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim was found to be in an offside position when making the pass to his teammate.
Mohamad Faisal then got onto the scoresheet 9 minutes later, drilling in a powerful shot following a pass from Muhammad Akhyar Abdul Rashid.
Muhammad Akhyar himself missed a golden opportunity in front of goal in the 33rd minute, as his late reaction allowed defender Gao Zhunyi to clear the ball.
It certainly proved costly, as three minutes later, the Dragons levelled when an unmarked Lin Liangming fired a solid shot from outside the penalty box past national goalkeeper Ahmad Syihan Hazmi Mohamed.
Pan Gon made three changes at the beginning of the second half, including bringing in Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) sensational winger Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi, to look for the winner.
However, the national side could not find a breakthrough, while China impressed the home fans with some dangerous attempts, including a shot from substitute Xie Pengfei in 54th minute.
Misfortune befell China’s Li Shuai in the 83rd minute, as he had to be stretchered off the field following a collision with Muhammad Syahmi.
The score remained 1-1 until the final whistle was blown by Qatari referee Abdulhadi Alasmar Al-Ruaile, and the result saw Malaysia finally get a positive result against China after more than 40 years, namely a 3-1 victory in 1980.
The last time the two teams met was in a friendly in 2013, where China won 2-0. - Bernama