Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia produced another superb show as they confirmed their place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Joint Qualification with a 5-1 win over Timor-Leste in the second leg on Tuesday, advancing 12-2 on aggregate.
Timor-Leste came into the tie facing a six-goal deficit from the first leg but any hope of a comeback was quickly diminished in the first half as Tan Cheng Hoe’s men raced to a 3-0 lead at half-time and added two more goals to advance in style with Shahrel Fikri hitting a hat-trick.
Malaysia settled into the match quickly and took the lead 12 minutes in with Shahrel finding the back of the net after being fed by Akhyar Rashid inside the box.
Timor-Leste fell two behind seven minutes later as Shahrel picked up his second goal after rising the highest to head home Mahmadou Sumareh’s corner.
Norio Tsukitate’s Timor-Leste were awarded a penalty at the half-hour mark but Malaysia custodian Ifwat Akmal made amends for his foul on Rufino Gama to save Joao Freitas' spot-kick.
Undeterred by Timor-Leste’s confidence, Malaysia moved up a gear and scored their third seven minutes later after Syazwan Andik found Sumareh with ample space in the box and the midfielder made it 3-0 at half-time.
FT: TLS 🇹🇱 1 - 5 🇲🇾 MAS (2-12 on aggregate)
A hat-trick by Shahrel Fikri hands Malaysia another comfortable win against Timor-Leste as they are through to the #AsianQualifiers Round 2! pic.twitter.com/qyIGWFWgGw
— #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) June 11, 2019
Malaysia kept the momentum going in the second half and extended their lead following Akhyar Rashid’s 55th minute effort and Shahrel almost added another five minutes later but was denied from the penalty spot by Timor-Leste goalkeeper Aderito Fernandes.
However, Shahrel was not to be denied as he collected his hat-trick in the 64th minute after beating his marker before firing a low drive past Fernandes from the edge of the area.
Timor-Leste grabbed a late consolation in the 72nd minute after Gama was left unmarked in the box and he sent his header into the back of the net.
Timor-Leste almost grabbed a second 11 minutes later but were foiled by Ifwat who produced a top drawer save as Malaysia registered a resounding win to confirm their place in Round 2 of the joint Qualifiers.
Photos: Football Association of Malaysia