Football: Malaysia humbled

MALAYSIA were like lambs to the slaughter as Australia inflicted the heaviest defeat yet on K. Rajagobal's side since he took over the national team in 2009 after a 5-0 rout in an international friendly in Canberra yesterday.

A pair of Japan-based players, Joshua Kennedy and Alex Brosque, scored a brace each after Dynamo Moscow's Luke Wilkshire opened scoring in the third minute as the Australians raced to a 4-0 half-time lead to lay bare the gulf in standards between the 19th and 147th-ranked teams.

While Malaysia improved considerably after the break following three substitutions, Rajagobal's new-look midfield in the absence of Selangor pair Safiq Rahim and Amirulhadi Zainal, failed to shine as they were overrun by Australia's silky moves and better coordination.

Australia coach Holger Osieck said Malaysia were probably intimidated by the fast-paced start made by his team.

"We had a good start from minute one and we moved the ball pretty well, had a good pace in our game, good positioning off the ball," he said after the game. "You see every team in the world who get confronted, get kind of intimidated and that happened with the Malaysians as well.

"I think in a way they got caught by surprise with how we started. The good thing is, we didn't just start it, we maintained it."

The result, which was a repeat of Australia's 5-0 win over Malaysia in the 1982 Merlion Cup semi-finals in Singapore, provides the home team a major confidence boost ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney on Tuesday.