2020 AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers: Malaysia beat Cambodia 5-4; Brunei also begin with win

Malaysia Cambodia

Malaysia defeated hosts Cambodia 5-4 in their opening match of the 2020 AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Malaysia had taken a 3-0 lead by half time and were leading 5-2 with 15 minutes left to play, but two late goals from the home side made for a nail-biting final few minutes for Brad Maloney’s side in Group G of the qualification event.

Shafi Azswada gave Harimau Muda the lead at the half-hour mark before Fakrul Iman made it 2-0 in the 40th minute. Azrin Afiq then scored a third for Malaysia before the half-time break as the AFF U18 Championship 2019 runners-up looked set to run away with all three points.

However, Cambodia scored in the 61st and 65th minutes through Met Samel and Chea Sokmeng to make it 3-1 before Malaysia pulled away once again two minutes later through prolific forward Luqman Hakim, who is set to sign for Belgian top division side KV Kortrijk.

Muslihuddin Afiq made it 5-2 for Malaysia in the 74th minute, but Ry Leap Pheng scored for the Cambodians in the 77th minute before Soeuth Nava made it 5-4 in the 88th minute. However, Cambodians ran out of time to steal a point as Malaysia got off to a winning start.

Meanwhile, Brunei Darussalam also began their qualifying campaign with a win as they defeated Northern Mariana Islands 4-3.

Only the winners of the 11 groups and the four best runners-up will qualify for the tournament proper to be held in Uzbekistan in October 2020.

Tajikistan have already booked a spot in the finals as Group C winners in the matches held last month.

(Photo credit: Cambodia Football Federation)