(Pic credit to FAM Media)
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 – It was another toughie for Malaysia on the artificial turf in Ulaanbaatar in the AFC Under-23 qualifiers but did enough to carve out a 1-0 win over Mongolia in a Group J match played at the MFF Stadium on Thursday.
The win kept Malaysia’s unbeaten record in Ulaanbaatar, having beaten Laos at the same venue in their opening match. Malaysia complete their fixtures with a match against Thailand on Sunday.
Just like in the match against Laos, Malaysia had a player booked as early the third minute by the referee from Iran. It was another case of below par refereeing.
Late callup Nur Azfar Fikri Azhar once again turned hero for Malaysia with the winner in the 40th minute.
It came via a corner kick by Hairiey Hakiman and Azfar who was at the far post gleefully headed home the opportunity that fell his way.
Malaysia could have won by a bigger margin but Mukhairi Ajmal saw two of his attempts come off the bar in the 37th and 74 minutes.
Before Malaysia scored, Mongolia too muffed a golden chance to go ahead in the 36th minute. However, Ganbayar Ganbold, who well placed to beat Malaysian goalkeeper Azri Ghani, sent his attempt wide when the ball landed nicely at his feet.
Overall, the robust and aggressive Mongolians rattled the Malaysians with their hard pressing game. It was frustrating for Brad Maloney and his team but they did enough for the win and three points.
It was a much better performance from the Malaysians overall, compared to the match against Laos.

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