BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia were far from convincing in their 1-0 AFF Championship opening day win over Cambodia, but a few players still proved their mettle in the match that was played at the Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh.
Watch Nohrshahrul Idlan Talaha’s headed goal as Malaysia earns a well-fought victory over Cambodia! #AFFSuzukiCup18 #TimeToShine #CAMvMAS
Match Report: https://t.co/vQeXAJQeBm pic.twitter.com/LYRR9EmGOQ — AFF Suzuki Cup (@affsuzukicup) November 8, 2018
Malaysia vs match highlights
Khairul Fahmi Che Mat - 7/10
The experienced custodian was not tested with direct shots too often, but the few times his goalmouth was threatened he rose to the occassion to keep the ball out, and directed his defenders with conviction. As a result, he kept a clean sheet and helped the Tigers win.
Syahmi Safari - 6/10
The young right back found the Cambodia wingers a little too much to handle at times, and was unable to provide consistent support for Mohamadou Sumareh in attack.
Aidil Zafuan - 7/10
The seasoned centre back had trouble commanding his defence line, but individually did well to nullify the threat posed by the speedy opposition attackers.
Shahrul Saad - 6/10
The centre back let Cambodia attackers drift behind him to receive lobbed through pass far too often, and things could have been a lot worse for Malaysia had it not been for Fahmi's commanding performance and the Cambodia attackers' naive finishing in the final third.
Syazwan Andik Ishak - 6/10
The young left back found the Cambodia wingers a little too much to handle at times, and was unable to provide consistent support for Safawi Rasid in attack.
Akram Mahinan - 7/10
The midfielder's gameplay might not have been aesthetically-pleasing to fans, but he did what Tan Cheng Hoe asked of him to a tee. He retained the ball in the middle of the park, helped the defence keep out the attackers, and did the dirty work from time to time.
Syamer Kutty Abba - 6/10
The midfielder was not at his best against Cambodia, and struggled to combine well with Akram and make dangerous deliveries towards the forwards.
Mohamadou Sumareh - 6/10
Even the usually-dangerous recent addition to the Malaysia roster found it hard to perform on the artificial Olympic Stadium pitch. The right winger's moves and runs seemed a fraction of a second slower throughout the 90 minutes, and he failed to find the back of the net despite the chances he got. The closest he got to scoring was when he hit the far post from the edge of the Cambodia box, just moments before the final whistle was blown
Norshahrul Idlan Talaha - 7/10 (Man of the Match)
The experienced forward proved why he was selected by Tan. Making his first appearance in his fifth AFF Championship campaign with Malaysia, the 32-year old forward showed commendable workrate and rolled back the years to run at Cambodia's defence on multiple occassions. But it wasn't just hardwork that earned him the man of the match title; he also bagged his fifth AFF Championship goal, the only goal of the match, a glancing header from the edge of the six-yard box.
Safawi Rasid - 6/10
While the underrated experienced forward shone, his younger counterpart had an off day. Although not for the lack of trying, the Johor Darul Ta'zim star was not able to combine well with his teammates, and could not penetrate the Cambodian defence as often as he perhaps would have liked.
Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak - 7/10
The captain, top striker, and Aidil Zafuan's twin brother put on his usual performance, which means that fans might have found it frustrating. But Tan's Malaysia are not necessarily pleasing to the eye, and the Kuala Lumpur forward did what was asked of him; hold the ball near the final third and wait for the other forwards to make space for themselves, so he could deliver the ball to one of them, before moving into space in the opponents' penalty box himself. He had a hand in the goal too, his short cross from the right at the half hour mark nodded in by Norshahrul.
Shahrel Fikri Fauzi - 6/10
The last time he was at the Olympic Stadium, in the two sides' September friendly match, Shahrel sparked the Harimau Malaya's come-from-behind 3-1 win when he was introduced in the second half. He came on at around the same moment in Thursday's match, as Norshahrul's replacement, but this time around he did not have the same impact as he did in the earlier encounter.
Hazwan Bakri - 6/10
The forward came on in the second half for Zaquan, and just like the other forwards, he too could not add to Norshahrul's goal.
Irfan Zakaria - NA
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