Malaysia sacked coach "before" Asian Cup game

Sacked Malaysian coach Norizan Bakar was reportedly told before his team went out to face Iran in Asian Cup Group C, that his contract, due to expire in September, was to be terminated immediately. However he later praised his players for their "team spirit and togetherness" after his final match, a 2-0 loss.

"I think the decision is unfair," he told journalists. "I have always tried my level best with the personnel at my disposal. With all the criticism and humiliation, the morale of the players was very low. I have to take my hat off to them, they showed real guts. It's very hard for them and they showed true team sprit and togetherness."

Norizan, a former teacher, said Malaysia should not hide from Asia's big teams despite the heavy defeats. "We have nothing to lose against playing these teams," he said. "We must learn from these games."