Thailand in the semi-finals
(Amri Yahyah 28, Safiq Rahim 61)
(Adisak Kraisorn 43, 90, Charyl Chappuis 72)
It was a brave display against the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup favourites Thailand and they even took the lead twice.
But it was not to be for Malaysia, as they conceded in the final minute to suffer a 2-3 loss in last night's Group B game at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Having played out a 0-0 draw with Myanmar in their opening match, Harimau Malaya have just one point from two games.
Yet they still have a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals if they beat arch-rivals Singapore in Saturday's final group match.
And, despite the magnitude of the clash, Malaysia coach Dollah Salleh has backed his charges to rise to the occasion.
"It's not over yet," he said defiantly.
"We still have one game to go and, if we play like we did today, I don't think we should have a problem beating Singapore.
"I'm very happy with the boys and proud of how they played; the only thing that didn't go our way was the final result.
"Hopefully, they will be able to use the rivalry with Singapore as an added motivation to win on Saturday."
Although it was the War Elephants who dominated the early proceedings last night, it was Malaysia who drew first blood in the 28th minute, when Amri Yahyah latched onto Safiq Rahim's lay-off and clinically steered his shot past Kawin Thamsatchanan's despairing dive.
However, the Thais pulled level two minutes before half-time, when Adisak Kraisorn - moments after coming on as a substitute for the ineffective Kirati Keawsombat - charged into the box to meet Charyl Chappuis' cross and stabbed the ball home.
Still, Harimau Malaya refused to be deterred and reclaimed the lead in the 61st minute, when Safiq coolly skipped past a couple of defenders before curling a low shot into goal.
But, in the 72nd minute, they undid their good work as some sloppy defending allowed Thailand to equalise again, when Chanathip Songkrasin broke free inside the box and laid the ball back to Chappuis, who found the top corner of the net.
And, although a draw would have been a fairer result, it was the War Elephants who went on to claim the win in the final minute, when Adisak latched onto Prakit Deeprom's low cross and smashed a shot past Khairul Fahmi at the near post.
The victory, coupled with their 2-1 triumph over Singapore last Sunday, was enough to seal the Thais' place in the semi-finals with a game to spare.
Having now beaten the past two champions in consecutive matches, Thailand boss Kiatisuk Senamuang wants his side to start believing they can go all the way.
"Why not?" he answered, when asked if their results so far gave him confidence they could win the tournament.
"We have beaten two big teams with experienced players in Singapore and Malaysia, so why shouldn't we believe?" he replied.
*The writer is a freelancer.
MALAYSIA: Khairul Fahmi, Mahali Jasuli, Afif Amiruddin, Fadhli Shas, Zubir Azmi, Amri Yahyah, Shukor Adan (Hafiz Kamal 89), Safiq Rahim, S. Kunanlan (Indra Putra Mahayuddin 46), Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Abdul Manaf Mamat 76).
THAILAND: Kawin Thamsatchanan, Narubodin Weerawatnodom, Adisorn Promrak, Tanaboon Kesarat, Anucha Kitpongsri, Sarach Yooyen, Charyl Chappuis, Sarawut Masuk (Chainarong Tathong 55, Prakit Deeprom 77), Chanathip Songkrasin, Kroekrit Thaweekarn, Kirati Keawsombat (Adisak Kraisorn 41)
TNP Man Of The Match: Chanathip Songkrasin