Malaysia were unlucky not to emerge victorious in Saturday’s friendly against Philippines at the Selayang Stadium after both sides played out a 0-0 draw.
The match, which Harimau Malaya were using as preparation for their final 2015 AFC Asian Cup against Yemen, attracted plenty of attention given it was Ong Kim Swee’s first game in charge since taking over from K. Rajagobal on an interim basis.
But Philippines also had a new man at the helm as ex-United States international Thomas Dooley took charge for the first time since being named as the replacement for Michael Weiss.
It took Malaysia just 12 minutes to put the ball into the back of the net after Amirizdwan Taj Tajuddin headed home a freekick, only for the strike to be chalked off for no apparent reason.
Undeterred by that setback, the hosts continued to show good initiative in the attacking third but were unlucky not to claim the lead; Aidil Zafuan, Safiq Rahim and Amri Yahyah all seeing efforts come back off the woodwork.
Despite it being a friendly, both sides were certainly showing plenty of desire and the referee had to brandish his yellow on a number of occasions.
The game was then halted shortly after the half-hour mark after flares were released by home fans, causing problems for visibility.
But the game eventually resumed and as the half wore on, Philippines gradually found their stride and began to cause the opposition defence problems with some excellent passing moves, which fans will be hoping are a sign of things to come under Dooley.
Nonetheless, neither side were able to find the breakthrough despite continuing to carve out a number of good opportunities, leaving both to settle for a share of the spoils at the final whistle.
Starting XIs – Malaysia v Philippines
Malaysia: Khairul Azhan Khazali, Mahalli Jasuli, Amirizdwan Taj Tajuddin, Aidil Zafuan, Zubir Azmi, Nazrin Nawi, Safiq Rahim, Hafiz Kamal, Amri Yahyah, Bobby Gonzales, Safee Sali.
Philippines: Patrick Deyto, Simone Rota, Rob Gier, Juan Luis Guirado, Jeffrey Christiaens, Chris Greatwich, Martin Steuble, Reuben Doctora, Mark Hartmann, Misagh Bahadoran, Phil Younghusband.