Solomon Islands national team put early pressure on Malaysia, but ended up suffering a defeat by the scoreline of 4-1 at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in its first friendly match in Asian soil since 2019.

Solomon Islands started strongly and took the lead in the 11th minute, courtesy of a goal scored by their young star, Raphael Lea’i. The opening goal came as a result of a mistake by Malaysia’s goalkeeper, allowing Gagame Feni of the Solomon Islands to showcase his speed and get ahead of the defender.

Feni then crossed the ball to Lea’i, who calmly slotted it into an empty net. This early goal gave the visitors an initial advantage.

However, Malaysia gradually gained control of the match and began launching attacking moves. The Solomon Islands’ custodian, Philip Mango, displayed heroic goalkeeping skills and made several crucial saves to keep his team in the game.

Malaysia struggled initially but managed to equalize in the 40th minute through their naturalized Brazilian midfielder, Paulo Josué. He capitalized on a rebound from Mango to find the back of the net. Just seven minutes later, Malaysia took the lead when Arif Aiman Hanapi converted a penalty kick – after himself was fouled inside the box by Central Coast’s William Komasi.

Despite the pressure from a fully professional side featuring naturalized players like Paulo Josué from Brazil and Lee Tuck from England, the Solomon Islands managed to hold onto their lead until the 40th minute. However, fatigue became evident in the second half, and the South Pacific side struggled to create scoring opportunities.

Mango continued to be crucial for the Solomon Islands in the second half, making important saves to keep Malaysia at bay. However, in the 76th minute, Safawi Rasid scored a beautiful goal, extending Malaysia’s lead. In stoppage time, striker Lee Tuck added another goal to secure a comprehensive victory for Malaysia, finishing the match with a 4-1 scoreline in their favor.

Overall, the Solomon Islands need to work on improving their fitness levels as they prepare to face Singapore on Sunday, 18th June, at the Singapore National Stadium.

The defensive issues experienced by the Solomon Islands were evident in this match, with goalkeeper Philip Mango having to make numerous stops to keep the scoreline respectable.

Offensively, the trio of Ali Mekawir, Raphael Lea’i, and Gagame Feni showed promising football, particularly in the first 30 minutes. However, fatigue hindered their ability to press harder against Malaysia. Despite making substitutions in the second half, the Solomon Islands struggled to maintain possession and pose a threat to Malaysia’s defense.


Source: Press Release, Oceania Football Centre