Harimau Malaya’s Nazirul Naim (left) was closely guarded by Lebanese defenders, during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match at Tan Sri Hassan Yunus Stadium, Larkin, Johor Bahru. Pix by Mohd Azren Jamaludin

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia started their campaign in the Asian Cup Qualifiers on a less than stellar note, after the home side fell to two late goals in their 2-1 defeat to Lebanon in a Group B match at Larkin Stadium.

In a tight first half, Nelo Vingada’s Malaysia took the lead through Mahali Jasuli, who scored his first international goal since 2012.

Lebanon’s goalkeeper Mehdi Khalil spilled a Syazwan Zainon's low cross from the left in the 43rd minute, and the error did not go unpunished.

Mahali collected the ball and side stepped Mehdi before unleashing a powerful shot for the goal.

The middle eastern side however did not give up and kept on pressing the home team.

Lebanon’s persistence after the half time breather were rewarded in the 80th minute.

Substitute Rabih Ataya cut in from right to go past Amri Yahyah and curled the ball past goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid.

Rabih then went on to net the winner deep into stoppage time

About 6,850 fans turned up for the match.

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