By K. RAJAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Malaysia were held to a 1-1 draw by Thailand in their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-finals, first-leg match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
Norshahrul Idlan Talaha scored with a superb header in the 48th minute to put the national team in the driving seat.
However, Teerasil Dangda was on target in the 79th minute to make it all level at 1-1.
Earlier, Malaysia showed their attacking intent but failed to make a breakthrough at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
The Tigers, cheered on by the capacity crowd at the stadium, put on a swashbuckling attacking display but were let down by poor finishing and ended the first half 0-0.
Striker Norshahrul Idlan Tahala who led the line alone up-front in the 4-2-3-1 formation was a constant menace to the Thai backline marshalled by skipper Panupong Wongsa.
Malaysia’s best chance to break the deadlock came in the 19th minute but winger Azammuddin Akil failed to direct an open header from Bunyamin Umar’s cross.
Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias also stood tall for Malaysia as he denied several of Thailand’s long range shots.
The second leg of the semi-finals will be played in Bangkok on Thursday.
- AFF Suzuki Cup: Malaysia 0 Singapore 3
- SuZuki Cup: We know how Thailand play, says Malaysia coach Rajagopal
- Malaysia to face Thailand in semis
- Suzuki Cup: We are all pumped up to win title, warns Thailand’s Teerasil
- Former Thai coach Chanwit: Apply the ‘3Cs’ against Malaysia