Malaysia had to dig deep and took advantage of the lack of fitness and indiscipline from Sri Lanka to score four 2nd half goals in a 4-1 win in the International Friendly played at the Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo.
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Sri Lanka, under the new Head Coach Nizam Packeer Ali, were on the back of a credible performance in the 2018 SAFF Suzuki Cup last month with a 2-0 loss to India and a 0-0 draw against the eventual champions, Maldives. They defeated Bangladesh 1-0 in the pre-tournament friendly.
Head Coach of Malaysia, Tan Cheng Hoe was just in his 8th match in charge. From their previous seven matches Malaysia had won three.
The last time current World Rank 171 Malaysia met Sri Lanka (199) was back in April 2012 when the visitors hammered the Lions 6-0. Five years earlier, in 2007, it was Sri Lanka who won 2-1.
An experimental Malaysia started off with having majority of the possession and territory but failed to penetrate through a stubborn defensive line where the hosts defended in numbers. Sri Lanka pressed high up the field making life difficult for the opponents.
The pressing game paid off as Sri Lanka burst into a counter on the right and the low effort from Kavindu Ishan was parried into the path of Asela Madushan who tapped into an open goal sending the fans into ecstasy. This was the Sri Lanka U19 vice-captain’s fist goal in national colours.
Most Malaysian attacks came from the right but they struggled to test goalkeeper Sujan Perera as referee Dilan Perera blew for half time.
Half time – Sri Lanka 1 – 0 Malaysia
Malaysia made the changes in the 2nd half and brought in debutant Mohamadou Sumareh who quickly changed the game in favour of the visitors.
Sumareh released Davies on the right side and the cross was fumbled by Sujan Perera onto the path of Norshahrul for an easy tap-in.
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Malaysia took the lead when Adam Nor Azlin headed in a brilliant corner kick delivered by Syazwan Andik. Sumareh then forced an own goal from Duckson Piuslas who could only look on as the ball deflected off his foot and loop over the wrong footed Sujan Perera.
Sumareh capped off an impressive debut as he scored past Perera’s near post in injury time to complete the comeback. For Sri Lanka it was their lack of fitness which resulted in defensive lapses. Also, not having a strong bench to bring on left them chasing ghosts for most of the 2nd half.
Full time – Sri Lanka 1 – 4 Malaysia
Sri Lanka – Asela Madushan 29’
Malaysia – Norshahrul Talaha 65’, Adam Nor Azlin 76’, Duckson Piuslas (OG) 85’, Mohamadou Sumareh 90+1’
*Kindly note that the times of the goals scored and the scorers may not be accurate as ThePapare.com were not provided the final match report from the organizers.