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.
2020 AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers Match 1 | Saturday, 2 November 2019
Cambodia 4-5 Malaysia
Met Samel 61’ Chea Sokmeng 65’ Ry Leap Pheng 77’ Soeuth Nava 88’
— FA Malaysia (@FAM_Malaysia) November 2, 2019
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.
— AFC (@theafcdotcom) November 2, 2019
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.
(Photo credit: Cambodia Football Federation)