- By K. RAJAN -
SHAH ALAM: Middle East powerhouse Saudi Arabia extended Malaysia’s winless run with a 4-1 win in a friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium last night.
Saudi Arabia’s goals were scored by Yousef Al Salem (7th), Yahya Al Shehri (29th), Naif Hazazi (88th) and Hamdan Al Hamdan (92nd). Skipper Mohd Safiq Rahim grabbed the consolation for Malaysia in the 70th minute.
The defeat was Malaysia’s fourth in a row since their AFF Suzuki Cup 3-1 aggregate semi-final defeat to Thailand last December.
The Malaysians’ other defeats were to Iraq (3-0) in a friendly and 2-0 to Qatar in the Asian Cup Group D qualifying match in Doha on Feb 6.
National coach Datuk K. Rajagopal started the match with an experimental side with Kelantan skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi earning his first cap.
The Saudis dominated the first half to score twice from well-crafted moves while Malaysia were second best in almost all departments.
The match came to life after the breather following sweeping changes made by the coaches. Saudi coach Lopez Caro changed all his 11 players while Rajagopal brought in six of his regulars.
Safiq gave Malaysia a glimmer of hope when he reduced the deficit to 2-1 after 70 minutes. But Saudi Arabia scored two late goals to walk away easy winners.
Malaysia will next take on Middle Eastern side Yemen in a crucial Asian Cup qualifying Group D match on Friday.
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