Malaysia's Muhammad N.Abu Hassan Saari (2nd R) in action SEAGAMES28 Mandatory Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee/Action Images via Reuters
A 10-man Malaysia overcame the sending-off of midfielder Nazmi Faiz Mansor to beat Timor-Leste 1-0 in their opening Group B match of the football tournament at the 28th SEA Games on Saturday at the Bishan Stadium.
Malaysia, two-time gold medallists in SEA Games football, were heavy favourites to beat the Timorese and looked set for an easy night at Bishan Stadium when they grabbed an early goal.
Devandrn Saarvindran got the ball unmarked outside the six-yard box after a goal-line scramble and instinctively fired the ball with his left foot into the back of the net.
Malaysia's fans cheering their cheering their football team on. Photo: Sylvester Chin / SINGSOC
Malaysia, showing some nice touches on the ball, continued to push forward and might have grabbed another quick goal had they been on target when they created opportunities.
But their early domination was halted in the 32nd minute when their talented playmaker Mansor was shown a straight red-card after spitting at an opponent.
Down a man, Malaysia were unable to add to their first half goal although defender Mohd Amer Saidin hit the crossbar with a looping header, but defended well against Timor-Leste team that threatened on handful of occasions.
Timor's best chances came in the final few moments when their captain Anggisu Barbosa blasted two long-range free-kick through the wall that forced Mohd Farhana to make diving saves to his right.
The result saw Malaysia join Thailand and Vietnam at the top of the Group B standings with a win each. The next match is on Sunday when Brunei and Laos, who were both beaten 6-0 in their opening games, meet.
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