China edge 10-man Young Tigers as Aliff sees red

KUALA LUMPUR: Midfielder Aliff Izwan Yuslan went from hero to zero during the national Under-23 side's 2-1 loss to China at the Jinshan Stadium in Shanghai today.

China's Du Yuesheng opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the friendly match.

Aliff equalised for Malaysia with a strike in the 35th minute, but would be sent off only four minutes later after picking up a second yellow card.

Tao Qianglong scored from a free kick from the edge of the box during added time in the first half, which would be enough for them to secure the win.

China piled on the pressure in the second half, but were denied additional goals thanks to a heroic display from goalkeeper Rahadiazli Rahalim, which included saving a dangerous effort from Qianglong in the 72nd.

The national Under-23 squad had earlier on Saturday edged China 1-0 at the same venue thanks to a solitary strike from defender Harith Haiqal Adam Afkar.

The team used the friendly matches with China to prepare themselves for the Under-23 Asian Cup in Qatar in April.

National Under-23 coach Juan Torres Garrido was satisfied with his players' overall performance in the two matches.

"Overall, it was a good experience for the team. They played two matches against a good opponent and faced different situations," said Garrido after the match.

"Our performance in the first game was quite satisfactory.

"It took us longer to get into the game in the second match. We then lost one player and were down to 10 men for about 60 minutes.

"We take it as part of our training and as preparation for possible situations we may face at the Under-23 Asian Cup."

Malaysia have been drawn in Group D of the Under-23 Asian Cup with Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Kuwait.

The top-three teams in the tournament will qualify for the Paris Olympics.

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