Malaysia got off to a losing start in football’s Under-23 Asian Cup today, falling 4-1 to South Korea.
Defending champions South Korea, as expected, were too strong for Malaysia in the Group C opener at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Koreans hit Malaysia with goals from Lee Sang-Min, Kim Tae-Hwan and Cho Young-Wook (a brace).
Malaysia could have gone in front in the fourth minute but Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak’s right footed shot from outside the box was parried by the Korean keeper at the bottom left corner.
As the match progressed, South Korea launched waves of attacks, putting the Malaysian defence, led by centreback Harith Haiqal Adam Afkar and goalkeeper Rahadiazli Rahalim, under immense pressure.
In the second half, Malaysia’s hopes of mounting a comeback suffered a blow when South Korea extended their lead through Tae Hwan’s shot from outside the box in the 54th minute.
However, Malaysia penetrated the Korean defence in the 83rd minute when skipper Mukhairi Ajmal fired home a shot from the centre of the box following a through pass from Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat.
With the score at 2-1, Malaysia pressed forward for the equaliser but it opened up space for the Koreans to exploit as Young Wook scored in the 88th minute and injury time.