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Les Cagous stumble against Malaysia

Visting AFC side Malaysia bounced back from their 2-0 loss to Papua New Guinea last week to claim the scalp of the 2016 OFC Nations Cup semi-finalists in what was a physical encounter at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea.
With three France-based players, Cesar Zeoula, Judikael Ixoee and Jean-Philippe Saiko, in the starting line-up coach Thierry Sardo had been hoping to build on the good work the side did in Port Moresby just a few weeks earlier.
“This match is a chance for us to continue working on the foundations we put in place in Papua New Guinea,” Sardo said before kick-off.
“It’s always beneficial to play a team that has a different style of game to us. It’s a formation composed of professionals that have evolved in Malaysia. Our objective is to continue advancing, so we will be even better come the World Cup Qualifiers.”
Sardo’s side made a strong start in front of the home crowd with Saiko giving Les Cagous the lead in hte 20th minute with a close range strike giving Malaysia goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi Roslan no chance.
Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee made a couple of tactical changes and the move paid off for the visiting side as striker Amirulhadi Zainal scored his first international goal since 2011 to bring his side in line with their opponent.
Midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar then placed his free-kick past New Caledonia keeper Thomas Schmidt in the 54th minute to hand his side the lead.
The last ten minutes of the match were busy for the match officials as Azrif Nasrulhaq for Malaysia and New Caledonia’s Georges Bearune both receiving their second yellow cards.
Malaysia will play their third and final match in Oceania against Fiji in Nadi on 26 June.


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