Frank Bernhardt’s Malaysian U-22 side secured a morale-boosting win over Brunei, with Shafiq Ahmad bagging two second half goals at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi.
Fans at the stadium were treated to strong starting elevens from both sides, as Amirul Hisyam and Jafri Chew were tasked with leading Malaysia’s attak, while Shahrazen Said spearheaded Brunei’s offensive department.
But the inexperienced Young Tigers dominated the tempo of the game in the first half, with Thanabalan and Amirul Hisyam both missing crucial opportunities. Brunei’s defensive solidity, however, prevented them from converting their possession into tangible attacking opportunities.
The storyline continued after the break, as Bernhardt’s charges continued to outmuscle the experimental Brunei squad, in the middle of the park. But a change that occured on the 62nd minute, eventually changed the outcome of the match.
Shafiq Ahmad was brought on for Perak’s Khairul Anuar and it only took him 12 minutes the break the deadlock, courtesy of a well-placed header. But if that wasn’t enough, he doubled Malaysia’s lead on the 83rd minute; converting yet another header to nick his second goal of the night.
With two goals in the bag, Bernhardt’s charges did more than enough to hold on and secure their first win since June 2016. Both sides will now rest and recuperate tomorrow, before facing each other again for the second time, on Saturday night.