JAKARTA, Nov 9 (Bernama) -- Izzaq Faris Ramlan's late strike saw Malaysia walk out 2-1 winners against SEA Games favourite, Thailand, at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium here Wednesday night.
The win will not only help restore the confidence of the players who had lost two valuable points in their opening match against Singapore after a goalless draw on Monday, the win will also provide the right tonic to face the home team on Nov 17 after meeting Cambodia on Nov 13.
Malaysia, hoping to defend the gold won in Laos two years ago, however, had to wait until the 25th minute for the Midas touch of skipper Baddrol Bakhtiar.
Baddrol who received a beautiful pass from left back Asraruddin Putra Omar beat Thailand goalkeeper Ukrit Wongmeema for the opening goal but credit must go to goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat for stopping numerous goal worthy attempts from the Thais, especially skipper Ronnachai Rangsiyo.
Stunned by the goal, Thailand increased their presence in the Malaysian half and managed to find the equalizer through substitute Natarid Thammroddodpon's strike in the 76th minute.
Sensing a need for more bite upfront, coach Ong Kim Swee decided to throw his ace in the pack, Izzaq Faris to replace Wan Zaharulnizam in the 80 minute and the move immediately paid dividends.
Four minutes later (84th minute) Izzaq Faris struck an unstoppable shot that not only beat the Thailand goalkeeper but ensured all three points for the Malaysian squad.
From Ahmad Erwan Othman