Credit: FAM
08/04/2024 12:51 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 (Bernama) -- The national under-23 (U-23) squad endured another setback as they went down narrowly 0-1 to Qatar in their final closed international friendly match ahead of the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup campaign, last night.

The penalty converted by centre-forward Ahmed Al-Rawi in the injury time of the first half proved decisive for the home side to secure victory over Harimau Muda.

This defeat marked Juan Torres Garrido’s side second consecutive loss, following a 1-2 loss to China in another friendly match last Thursday in Doha.

Speaking after the match, coach Juan Torres Garrido conceded that Ilidio Vale’s team displayed superior pace and physicality.

“We struggled during the first half to match the rhythm and pace of the opponent but in second half the the team reacted well. 

“Overall, I think this game was very useful to prepare  the team and be ready in one week,” he said in a video shared by Football Association of Malaysia with media, today.

In the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup campaign, Malaysia, who were drawn in Group D, will begin with a match against Uzbekistan on April 17, followed by Vietnam (April 20) and Kuwait (April 23) with the mission to advance to at least the quarter-finals.

Only the top two teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals and have the opportunity to continue the challenge of grabbing three automatic slots to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, while the fourth-best team of the tournament will play a play-off match against Guinea in Paris this May.