Malaysia did not get off the best starts in their AFF Suzuki Cup warm-up after they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Chinese Taipei in a friendly on a water-logged Taipei Municipal Stadium on Friday.
The defeat will deflate the national team, who are looking to improve on their 171st ranking and pick up pace ahead of the biennial tournament in November.
Malaysia were struggling to move the ball around on the heavy pitch, and as a result most of their movement were restricted to the middle of the park.
Chinese Taipei were still reeling from a disastrous showing at the Hero Intercontinental Cup in June which saw them finish without a point, and they were eager to make amends in front of a sparsely filled stadium.
Their early endeavor paid when Wu Chun-ching put the host ahead in the 13th minute.
The midfielder’s initial shot had been blocked by Shahrul Saad, but Wu converted the rebound in a crowded penalty area.
The visitors were struggling to create any inroads despite going behind, with the creative tentacles of Nik Akif Syahiran and Syahmi Safari stifled due to the lack of service.
There was not many goalscoring chances after that, as the first half drew to a close with the Malaysians trailing 1-0.
Tan Cheng Hoe’s men needed an early goal to force the issue after the break, but it was Chu En-le who dealt them another blow by extending Chinese Taipei’s lead to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. .
The national coach’s response was to introduce Akhyar Rashid, and the exciting winger almost made an impact after he was put through on goal.
Unfortunately for Akyhar, he did everything right except find the net, agonizingly seeing his shot bounce off the post with the keeper beaten.
Malaysia were more purposeful in their attacks after that, and Akhyar got himself into a good shooting position, only to slip before taking a shot.
The game fizzled out after that and Malaysia fell to their second defeat of 2018.
Tan will next take his men to face Cambodia on Monday.
Farizal Marlias (GK), Shahrol Saad, Fazly Mazlan, Irfan Zakaria, Mahali Jasuli, Nik Akif Syahiran, Nazmi Faiz, Akram Mahinan, Syazwan Zainon, Syahmi Safari, Zaquan Adha (C)
Pan Wen-chieh (GK), Wang Ruei, Chen Ting-yang, Chen Wei- chuan, Li-mao, Chen Hao-wei, Wu Chun-Ching, Wen Chih-hao, Wang Chien-ming, Chen Po-liang, Chu En-le
Photo Credit: FAM