Player Ratings: Safawi, Irfan among heroes in Malaysia win

Nicolas Anil

Malaysia pulled off one of the shocks of the Asian Games football tournament after Safawi Rasid’s brace gave them a momentous 2-1 victory over defending champions South Korea in Group E.

Here is how Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s men battled their way to a last-16 spot.

Player Ratings (1-10)

Haziq Nadzli (7.5) – Pulled off a stunning save from close range to deny Hwang Hee Chan in the first half. Apart from one poor goal kick, Haziq was composed and commanding. He is improving with every game.

Dominic Tan (7.5) – Another stupendous performance from this young centre-back. His last ditch sliding tackles at full stretch help halt South Korea from penetrating through the middle.

Adam Nor Azlin (7) – A much improved performance from the first game. Adam linked up well with Irfan Zakaria and Dominic Tan to keep the Koreans at bay for most parts of the match.

Irfan Zakaria (8) – The Kuala Lumpur stopper probably played the game of his life. He covered every blade of the pitch in the penalty box, and put his body on the line to block every shot that came his way.

Rizal Ghazali (7.5) – Rizal put his experience, intensity, and his rampaging runs down the right flank to devastating effect. Always kept his marker in check and used his physique to shield the ball well.

Syazwan Andik (8) – One of the standout performers on the night. Syazwan played his left wing-back role to perfection, cutting the Korean threat and pushing forward to help the forwards when possible.

Baddrol Bakhtiar (7) – Baddrol displayed a captain-like performance. He did well aid the Malaysian attack by pressing hard, and put in a solid defensive shift as well. Even Son Heung-min was frustrated with his work ethics.

Syahmi Safari (6) – Ong’s decision to field this Selangor midfielder paid off. Syahmi was sloppy in possession at times, but he worked hard to close down the Koreans upfront.

Akhyar Rashid (7) – Akhyar’s pace and running on the left wing comes as a real asset to the Malaysians. Retreated deep into the Malaysian half to help out his teammates defensively too.

Syafiq Ahmad (7) –  Another tireless worker who chased and harried the Korean players into making mistakes and committing unnecessary fouls. Did well to set-up Safawi’s second goal.

Safawi Rasid (9) – Another top class performance from the powerful forward. Safawi’s anticipation and high pressing unsettled the Korean backline, and he was rewarded with two well taken goals.

Substitutions

R.Kogileswaran (for Syafiq Ahmad 70’) (6) – Was full of running as soon as he came on. Chased down the Korean attackers as the clock ticked down.

Hadi Fayyadh (for Syahmi Safari 75’) (5.5) – Didn’t have much possession to do anything, but slotted into a deeper role to help Malaysia’s cause.

Adib Zainuddin (for Safawi Rasid 82’) (6) – Another soldier who defended manfully in the dying stages.

 

Photo Credit: FAM

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