Malaysia outplayed 2-0 by Uzbekistan in Under-23 Asian Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Under-23 Asian Cup football campaign got off on the wrong foot with a 2-0 loss to Uzbekistan in Group D at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Wednesday.

The Young Tigers, coached by Spaniard Juan Torres Garrido, were second best in all departments though Uzbekistan were not really firing on all cylinders.

Things would have been different for Malaysia if striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin had converted his chance in the sixth minute, and after that it went downhill for the Young Tigers.

Defender Syahir Bashah's clumsy tackle inside the box brought down Ruslanbek Jiyanov in the ninth minute, and Jasurbek Jaloliddinov made no mistake with his spotkick.

The goal seemed to have sapped Malaysia's fighting spirit as they hardly pressured Uzbekistan, leaving Luqman's sole attempt as the only shot in the first half.

In the second half, the Malaysians improved a bit, but just could not match the Uzbeks who played simple football effectively.

The introduction of Daryl Sham George and Haqimi Azim Rosli injected some bite into the Malaysian attacks but the Central Asian side were unyielding

Malaysia's hopes of salvaging a draw suffered a blow after Ulug'bek Khoshimov netted Uzbekistan's second goal in the 83rd minute.

The Young Tigers will now hope to bounce back in their next match against Vietnam on Saturday before their final group fixture against Kuwait on April 23.

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