Kuala Lumpur: Aidil Zafuan has acknowledged that Malaysia will face a huge challenge in Thailand after the sides played out a scoreless draw in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final at Bukit Jalil Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts had by far the better of the first half and perhaps should have been leading going into the interval, but were unable to make their dominance count.

Both Safawi Rasid and Mohamadou Sumareh could have opened the scoring as Malaysia took the game to the defending champions, much to the delight of the majority of the 87,000 in attendance.

Malaysia were not as strong after the break, however, although Thailand rarely threatened to break the deadlock and ultimately honours ended even.

“We now have an uphill task in the second leg, but it’s important we didn’t concede here and we will try our best to take our chances in Thailand,” said Aidil.

“We tried our best today and are happy with the clean sheet, so next we will do our best to score in Thailand.”

After defeating Myanmar 3-0 a week ago to advance to the knockout rounds for the first time since 2014, Malaysia were faced with their toughest task of the current campaign against the five-time champions.

Thailand had scored a tournament-leading 15 goals en route to the semi-finals and boasted eight-goal Adisak Kraisorn within their ranks.

But the competition’s top marksman was kept largely quiet by an assured defensive display from the Malaysians and the tie remains firmly in the balance ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

“We were very successful defensively as we managed to stop their attacking game,” added the defender.

“Thailand are a good team but our defence managed to handle their threat going forward. However, we also missed some good opportunities.

“We know it’s going to be very difficult to play them in their stadium, so we will have to think about the game plan we need to go there with.”

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