KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 -- Malaysia deserved to win or at least ended the match with a draw after putting a commendable performance against the West Asian giants, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil, last night.
However, their failure to 'seal' the match with some golden opportunities within the first 25 minutes of the match, had caused Tan Cheng Hoe's side to accede a 1-2 defeat in the Group G match of the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asia Cup second round qualifier.
The match results were bitter to be swallowed up by Harimau Malaya striker, Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad, who was optimistic the squad could spring a surprise especially after he managed to put Malaysia ahead in the 36 seconds of the match.
"For me, based on the performance, the national team deserves to win, but like everyone says that in football, you have to expect the unexpected.
"What the team is doing tonight (last night), we have fought hard. That is football...we've scored the early goal but it was not enough to outclass the opponent," he said when met after the match ended.
Muhammad Syafiq, who is also Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) forward, also scored a goal while helping Malaysia to beat their traditional rival, Indonesia 3-2 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta last Thursday.
In last night's match, the UAE striker Ali Ahmed Mabkhout became the Al-Abyad's (The White) hero when he scored the winning goals at the 43rd and 75th minutes in front of the 43,200 home crowd.
The two goals scored by Ali Ahmed came as a result of the defenders' negligence and careless mistake which had stopped Malaysia from continuing their winning momentum after the success in Jakarta.
After the defeat, Malaysia stood in third place in Group G standings, sharing three points with the UAE and was just one point behind the group leader, Thailand, who had beaten Indonesia 3-0 in another Group G match on Wednesday.
While the 2018 AFF Cup champion, Vietnam, who just played one match stood in fourth place with one point.
Malaysia will depart for Hanoi on Oct 10 to play against Vietnam in their third Group G match.