Featured, Football

Malaysia U22 1-1 Nepal: Bernhardt’s charges struggle to impress in Paroi

Arif Anwar rescued the day for Malaysia U-22 after his late equalizer helped them avoid defeat in what was a frustrating night at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi.

Frank Bernhardt’s Malaysia U-22 side dominated headlines last week after their impressive 4-1 win over Philippines U-22, but they were brought right back to earth today, as Nepal exposed crucial loopholes, all over the pitch.

The German head coach rang the changes for this match, benching the likes of S. Kumaahran, who was outstanding last week. But despite that, the Young Tigers dominated possession early on in the game, though there was nothing concrete in the first 10 minutes.

But the Nepalese were employing a high-defensive line, which didn’t allow Malaysia’s attackers much time and space on the ball. More importantly, it also meant that Nepal were pressing high up the pitch, which helped disrupt the free-flowing football Bernhardt promised fans over the weekend.

Photo Credit: FAM
Photo Credit: FAM

There were a couple of attempts between the 15th to 21st minute, particularly through Khairil Anuar’s clean attempt, though it was comfortably saved by the Nepalese goalie. Zarul also had a key opportunity though the goalie tipped it away again, this time around.

But a mistake from Faris Shah allowed Nepal to seize the lead through xxx on the 37th minute mark, sending the group of Nepalese fans within the stadium absolutely wild.

After the break through, there was a lot more conviction in Malaysia U22’s tempo, as they worked hard to contain the Nepalese players in midfield. Thanabalan in particular, was putting in an impressive shift on the flanks, but the final product continuously left them stranded.

Photo Credit; FAM
Photo Credit; FAM

Kumaahran, who was introduced in the second half, looked dangerous as well, as Malaysia began pushing for the coveted equalizer. The midfield battle was undoubtedly tight and Bernhardt responded by throwing on Farhan Roslan, with hopes of adding more penetration in the middle of the park.

That move eventually paid handsome dividends as the Kedah youngster threaded an excellent pass for Arif Anwar, who comfortably found the back of the net on the 87th minute to level the score line.

Just when the fans were relieved to see the comeback, Bernhardt’s boys were almost punished late in the game, as Nepal carved out an excellent chance, thanks to Malaysia’s poor defending. Unfortunately for the away side, Bharat couldn’t find the back of the net, as the game ended 1-1.