SHAH ALAM: The Sea Games football competition starts in less than one month, but the Shah Alam Stadium, which is one of the venues for the event, is far from ready.
On Thursday, referee Nagor Amir Noor Mohamed, who officiated the Under-22 friendly between Malaysia and Myanmar, had to stop the match for about five minutes in the first half as small parts of the stadium roof fell onto the pitch and the terrace seats due to strong winds and a heavy downpour.
Things got worse after the break as both teams could not play their normal tempo as the pitch was waterlogged.
The Sea Games football competition is set to start on Aug 14.
Despite the issues, Ong Kim Swee’s side managed to earn a morale boosting 2-0 win over Myanmar ahead of next week’s AFC Under-23 qualifiers in Bangkok.
The victory is also huge for Kim Swee as the coach only had his full squad for training on the eve of the friendly match as the players had previous club commitments.
Irwat Akmal Chek Kassim played between the posts with captain Adib Zainuddin, Adam Nor Azlin, Irfan Zakaria and Syazwan Andik in defence.
Danial Amier Norhisham, Jafri Firdaus Chew, Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, Ariff Farhan Isa, Syafiq Ahmad and N. Thanabalan made up the starting line-up.
Many thought Malaysia would not stand a chance against a well-prepared Myanmar, who brought 10 players from their 2015 Under-20 World Cup squad.
However, the visitors did not bring three regulars to Kuala Lumpur as they are currently recovering from injuries.
Using the 4-3-3 formation, the team were composed and confident though it was Myanmar who had the first chance in the match.
Ye Yint Yun was left unmarked as he directed his header from a corner kick against the post with keeper Irwat out of position in the 13th minute.
Myanmar were aggressive and had three players on yellow cards in the opening 25 minutes.
Malaysia’s moment arrived in the 26th minute when N. Thanabalan scored his fourth goal of the season for his team.
The Felcra striker rose high and headed in a Syazwan corner kick from close range to put his side ahead.
The match was stopped for about five minutes in the 37th minutes due to safety issues by referee Nagor Amir.
In the 43rd minute, Jafri missed a golden opportunity from a Syafiq pass by sending the ball wide with only Myanmar goalkeeper Phone Thitsar Min to beat.
Two minutes later, keeper Thitsar Min denied Adam an attempt from a free header to deny Malaysia a second goal.
Kim Swee brought on goalkeeper Amierul Hakimi Awang, Raphi Azizan Mariappan, Danial Ashraf Abdullah, Nur Syamie Iszuan Amin, Sean Eugene Selvaraj, Fauzan Fauzi, Syazwab Zaipol Bahari and Kedah’s President Cup player Akhyar Rashid in different periods of the second half.
Malaysia continued to press forward with Syafiq and Thanabalan both coming close to extend the lead in the 51st and 56th minutes.
In the 87th minute, Danial Ashraf, who plays for Kelantan, scored off a Myanmar defensive slip for the second goal for Malaysia.