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Malaysia routs Philippines to open AFC U23 Qualifiers

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Group J hosts Malaysia took care of the Philippines easily after dispatching the Young Azkals with a three-goal shutout to open the AFC U23 qualifiers Friday evening in Shah Alam.

Inside the den of the Harimau Malaya, Bob Salvacion’s Young Azkals were never given a chance as Ong Kim Swee’s men pounced on their inexperience.

Akhyar Rashid led the two-time Southeast Asian Games titlists’ bid just minutes into the game.

Akhyar opened the scoring in just four minutes in after slotting his right-footed shot inside the box easily past Michael Asong after being picked out by Syahmi Safari from the right side.

Just after the half-hour struck, Akhyar got his brace after tapping in Syamer Kutti’s backheel that caught the Filipino back-line napping for a 2-0 lead at the break.

Despite the home side taking a whopping 24 shots on goal the entire match while lording on the pitch with 59% possession of the ball, the Philippines managed to put up a decent fight in the second half.

Substitute Faisal Halim, however, came in to finish the job that Akhyar started.

Halim gave the hosts their third goal of the game seven minutes before the whistle to complete the rout.

With the setback, the U23 Azkals are hoping to get a decent showing on Sunday against China, which is pacing the group after drubbing Laos, 5-0 in Selangor. (Kevin Estrada)

Malaysia: Haziq Nadzli (GK), Dominic, Syamer, Shahrul Nizam, Syahmi Safari, Danial Amier, Nik Akif, R. Dinesh, Safawi (C), Hadi Fayyadh (Azli Alias), Akhyar (Faisal Halim)

Philippines: Asong (GK), Marzan (Borlongan), Limbo (C) (Magtoto), de Bruycker, Clarino, Sanciango, Baguio, Magdato (Suba), Saavedra, Grierson, Jarvis