Both teams named unchanged line-ups from their previous match, in their Group D encounter at the Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium.
Group D: Tajikistan drew with Malaysia 2-2
(TJK: Ehson Panshanbe 34’, Yodgorov Daler 46’; MAS: Muhammad Hadi Fayyadh 11’, Hanonov Vahdat (OG) 55)
Tajikistan switched from a 4-1-4-1 to a 5-4-1 formation with Saidov Karomatullo pulling back in defense. With an astonishing 67% of ball possession, the Persian Lions dominated the game with 429 completed passes and a passing accuracy of 81%. Tajikistan had 15 shots of which seven found the target.
Malaysia modified their 4-4-2 starting formation to 5-4-1 with Ammar Akhmall Alias falling back in defense and Nik Akif Syahiran roaming in the midfield. The Malaysian Tigers had 11 shots of which four were on target. Their defense made 29 clearances and won 20 tackles with their custodian Azri Ghani ending the game with five incredible saves.
Malaysia took the early lead after a precise pass from Nik Akif Syahiran found Muhammad Hadi Fayyadh in space. Fayyadh's first-time right-footed strike flew past an advancing Shohrukh Qirghizboev to end in the bottom right corner.
After Muhammad Al Imran Halim mowed down Sherddin Boboev inside the box, it prompted the Jordanian referee Ahmed Al-Ali to award a penalty to Tajikistan. Ehson Panshanbe converted the penalty to tie the game 1-1.
The Malaysian defense was caught napping as Safarov Manucher’s cross found an unmarked Daler Yodgorov arriving at the back post in the dying moments of the first half.
A clumsy tackle by Yodgorov Daler on Muhammad Nurfais Bin Johari resulted in a free kick for Malaysia. Nabil Hakim Bokhari’s free-kick took a deflection off Hanonov Vahdat whose attempt to clear the ball resulted in an own goal.
The thrilling match ended on a sour note with a couple of red cards. Malaysia's Nabil Hakim Bokhari received a straight red in the 87th minute after a dangerous tackle on Ziyovuddin Fuzaylov.
Tajikistan's Khuseyn Nurmatov was the recipient of the second red card of the match for an ugly challenge on Muhammad Ramadhan Saifullah.
The Malaysian Tigers still have an outside chance of reaching the knockouts if they win against China and hope Saudi Arabia get the better of Tajikistan. The Persian Lions need a draw which would enable them to progress to the quarter-finals.