Malaysia seem determined to put their bad episode with the South Korean referee behind them when they beat Cambodia 4-0 in a Group B encounter of the SEA Games football tournament at Chao Anuvong Stadium in Vientiane, Tuesday.
Following several clear misses at the start, the Malaysians finally carved out their first goal of the game in the 34th minute when Manaf Mamat capitalised on a hesitant Cambodian backline to slot the ball home.
But Cambodia got the chance to draw level in the 52nd minute only to see Kouch Sokumpheak’s attempt going straight to Malaysian keeper Farizal Marlias after his first attempt was disallowed for an infringement.
And in their eagerness to go forward, Cambodia fell further behind in the 75th minute when Norshahrul Idlan Talaha latched on to a cross from S. Kunalan to give the Malaysians a 2-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Kunalan made it 3-0 off a rebound before Safiq Rahim converted a penalty five minutes to the end to give the Malaysians the win.
Meanwhile, Thailand made it a walk in the park with a 9-0 thumping of Timor Leste in an earlier match at the same venue.
The win has set up a crucial clash in the group between Thailand and Malaysia with the victor winning a ticket to the semi-finals of this year’s competition.
Needing just the three points from the match, Thailand rested their stars like Teerasil Dangda and captain Kiatprawut Saiwaew as they tried out several of their reserves at the start of the tie.
But even that was a handful for Timor Leste as striker Sompong Soleb nailed a hat-trick with goals in the 3rd, 32nd and 76th minute to lead the defending champions over their hapless opponents.
In between, Anawin Jujeen were on target for Thailand with goals in the 37th and 86th minute as Apipoo Sunthornpanavej (46th and 60th), Kriangkrai Pimrat (44th) and Piyachart Harahan (49th) scored the other goals for the Thais.