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Malaysia go down fighting against masterful Manchester City

Defending champions Malaysia gained valuable experience ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup with matches against English Premier League giants Manchester City and Arsenal.

After pushing Arsenal all the way in a 2-1 defeat, Malaysia gave another good account of themselves against champions Manchester City despite going down 3-1 before 52,000 fans at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The identities of the scorers – Argentine internationals Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez and England winger Adam Johnson – underlined the huge task that faced Malaysia in the high-profile friendly.

Malaysia played their best football when 3-0 down and snatched a consolation goal at the death through substitute Azamuddin Akil.

Coach K. Rajagobal will have taken a lot of positives from the two matches as the squad heads to Austria for an intensive training camp.

"We started well and tried to attack them on the counter but it was hard," he said. "We just could not maintain our intensity as the build and speed of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure overwhelmed us.

"Our substitution worked as we got a goal late into the match and it revitalised us and we almost got a second. I think the team played very well despite the result."

The titleholders and co-hosts will play 2010 runners-up Indonesia, three-time winners Singapore and the second-placed team from the qualifying tournament in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup from November 24 to December 1.