A second-half Amri Yahyah brace helped Malaysia fight back to a 3-2 win over Cambodia in the first match AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Group B action on Sunday afternoon.
The opening goal came in the eighth minute when Malaysia’s players slowed down in response to the linesman’s offside flag, but referee Abdul Said waved for play to continue and Chan Vathanaka beat out Malaysia goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi with a clever bit of dribbling to put Cambodia ahead 1-0.
Malaysia’s frustration showed in the 27th minute when Cambodian defender Soeuy Visal nudged the ball into the path of goalkeeper Sou Yaty, who scooped it up as opposing manager Ong Kim Swee loudly called for an illegal back pass.
He would be all smiles in the 37th minute when Syazwan Zainon cleverly received the ball deep in Cambodia territory before gliding past Chhin Chhoeun and slamming the ball home with a low diagonal shot that bounced past Yaty’s hands and into the goal.
Shortly after the start of the second half, Malaysia missed a chance to take the lead when Syazwan’s shot clanged off the woodwork. Five minutes later, Amri’s grounder went into the goal but he was called offside.
Shortly before the hour mark, Vathanaka found his second of the day when he dribbled around several Malaysian defenders before slotting the ball home from near the penalty area.
Malaysia equalised for a second time in the 69th minute when Hazwan Bakri supplied Amri with a cross that he hammered home from point blank range.
Amri’s second goal of the day, a clever low shot again from near the goal, put the Harimau Malaysia up for good in the 80th minute as they set out to top their runners-up finish in the 2014 edition of the tournament.