Yaodong Cheng made a couple of changes by bringing in Liu Chaoyang and Xu Yue in place of Xu Lei, Liu Ruofan. China were playing for pride against Malaysia in their last group encounter at the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship on Friday.
Bojan Hodak made a couple of changes as the Malayan Tigers were looking for a victory to advance. Muhammad Nurfais Bin Johari and the suspended Nabil Hakim Bokhari made way for Ahmad Tasnim Fitri and Akhyar Rashid.
Group D: China defeat Malaysia 2-0
(CHN: Tao Qianglong 44', Xu Yue 58')
China starting with a 4-4-2 style, had Tao Qianglong forging ahead down the left as an attacking wingman, which modified to a 4-3-3 formation. The Dragons had 61% of ball possession and dominated the aerial duels, winning close to 72% of high balls. With 451 completed passes to their credit, they had six shots on target of their nine total attempts.
Malaysia employing a 4-2-3-1 tactic, had Ahmad Tasnim Fitri supporting the midfield as Muhammad Ramadhan Saifullah and Akhyar Rashid played more of an attacking role, which changed it to a 3-4-3 formation. Only three of their ten attempts on goal found the target as six of their shots were off the mark.
China’s first opportunity came through a powerful drive from Tao Qianglong which was comfortably gathered by Azri Ghani.
A free kick from China was poorly dealt with by Malaysian stopper Azri Ghani. Guo Tianyu was in the process of smashing it into the goal before it was cleared to safety by Muhammad Hadi Fayyadh.
Guo Tianyu came up with a glancing header in the 26th minute which fizzed past the far post before an onrushing Liu Chaoyang could get to the end of it.
Another freekick for China in the 35th minute was given away by Muhammad Al Imran Halim. Tao Qianglong’s cross was pretty inviting and missed a rapidly approaching Liu Chaoyang before going out inches off the bar.
Hebei China Fortune's Tao Qianglong finished off a superb move with a terrific right-footed shot to the bottom left corner after Zhu Chenjie’s cross got deflected off a Malaysian defender to find Tao.
A perfectly weighted cross from Liu Chaoyang found Guo Tianyu who headed into the hands of the Malaysian custodian.
Lying on the floor, Guo Tianyu threaded a pass to find Shanghai Shenhua's Xu Yue who sweetly struck the ball with his right foot from 30 yards out, finding the bottom right corner in the 58th minute. A 75th minute fierce strike from Akhyar Rashid rattled off the crossbar as China held on to the lead.
The final effort from Malaysia came from Muhammad Nurfais Bin Johari whose strike got blocked by Chen Ao right in front of Peng following a corner.
Both teams exited the competition with China registering their first victory of the Championship in their last group encounter. Malaysia had shown great mettle in losing a close one to Saudi Arabia and holding Tajikistan to a draw.
Group D Standings: Saudi Arabia 9 points, Tajikistan 4, China 3, Malaysia 1.
Quarter-Finals Line-up: Qatar vs Thailand; South Korea vs Tajikistan; Japan vs Indonesia; Saudi Arabia vs Australia.