Gimme, Gimme Gimme

30 Jun 2011

Battle Won...

...but the War is Not Over, Yet.

Failure to keep a clean sheet against Chinese Taipei last night could cost Malaysia dear in their quest to progress further in the 2014 World Cup Qualifying Tournament. The Malayan Tigers did win the match by the odd goal in three but the Taiwanese know they only have to win 1-0 on Sunday in their own backyard to eliminate the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup champions in the first hurdle.

Malaysia failed to capitalise their home ground advantage. Roared on by the partisan crowd Rajagobal's boys had to wait until nearly half an hour into the match before breaking the deadlock.

Substitute Abdul Hadi Yahya, who just came in place of out of sort fullback, Helmi Remeli, broke on the right. He passed the ball to Kunanlan who in turn set the ball up for his skipper Safiq Rahim. The midfielder took his shot early and watched as his effort flew across Chinese Taipei goalkeeper, Lin Po-Cheng and went in after hitting the far post.

Several more chances were created before the break but the Malaysian players wasted them through poor finishing and resolute defending by the visitors. However the home side capitalised on a poor defending by Chinese Taipei nine minutes into the second half to go two goals clear.

Photo by: Azhari Yusop | Dunia Sukan Online

A good delivery by Safiq was met by central defender, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak who was left unmarked as he made his run to attack the ball. It was powerful enough to see it bulged the Taiwanese goal net and sending fans in the stands into a state of delirium.

There were a few more opportunities came their way to make the tie completely safe but the Malaysian players just could not make the most of them.

Then thirteen minutes from time, the entire Malaysian defence just went asleep. From a throw in the Taiwanese player broke on the left and delivered a cut back which was met with a fine finish by Chen Po-Liang. None of the Malaysian defender pick up his run into the box which left goalkeeper, Sharbinee Allawee totally exposed.

Despite their efforts later on, the Tigers could not find their way past Po-Cheng again and now must brace themselves for a difficult second leg encounter at the Taipei Municipal Stadium on Sunday.


23 Jun 2011


...of the Young Tigers!

Malaysia confirmed their place in the final of Asia Olympics Qualifying Round with eleven other nations after a battling display against Lebanon at the Stadium Nasional tonight. After a goal-less first leg at the Sports City Stadium in Beirut, the Malaysian players knew they have to win in order to progress in the competition.

The more favoured Lebanese could be feeling confident of pulling the result they needed to advance but that confidence must have plummeted after nine minutes when Malaysia went ahead through a sweet strike by Mohamad Irfan Fazail after the visitors failed to clear their line.

His finish from just outside the box was akin to the ones that we Malaysians used to see during English Premier League matches, highlighting the fact we have good technical players in our league. What they need is to keep producing the kind of good technique on a consistent basis.

Back to the match, the Lebanese players seemed to be shell-shocked and Ong Kim Swee's boys took the opportunity to press for the security of a second goal. However they have to survive a scare when Khairul Fahmi Che Mat's crossbar was rattled by a strike by Abdallah Taleb.

The second goal did arrive and the way it arrived certainly should make more Malaysians believe in this Malaysian team. A string of passes were exchanged before Gary Steven threaded the ball into the box, having spotted Wan Zack Haikal making a run from the flank.

(Image was taken from Dunia

The midfielder shrugged off the attention from a Lebanon player and managed to squeeze the ball past goalkeeper, Mohamad Dakramanji. The National Stadium erupted with joy as Malaysians celebrated the goal that could bring them to the stage they have not visited for a long, long time.

It certainly proved crucial. Steven, who received a yellow card in the first minute of the match, saw the same card again flashed to him by Japanese referee, Toma Maasaki six minutes into the second half, resulting in an early bath and giving Lebanon a man advantage.

The dismissal gave them the impetus to push forward in search of goals and with the Malaysian defence kept hacking the ball away at every opportunity, meant the Lebanese would keep coming back.

Finally the constant pressure paid off in the 61st minute when a deep cross from the right was headed towards goal by Mahmoud Kojok. The loose ball then was headed in by an alert Chadie Atie despite the desperate attempts by the Malaysian players to keep it out.

The goal meant Malaysia's hope of advancing depended on whether they would concede again in the last half an hour of the match as a draw tonight meant the Arabs would go through on away goals rule.

Perhaps the best way of not letting your opponents score is to deprive them of the ball in the first place. However, as the Malaysian players continued to punt the ball into Lebanon's half almost continuously saw they have to constantly deal with attacks by the visitors.

Credit to them, they managed to hustle the Lebanon players and prevented them from making much use of the ball, restricting them to making long distance attempts which were dealt easily by Khairul Fahmi.

Only towards the end did the Malaysian players beginning to hold on to the ball and keeping it in the Lebanon half of the pitch. The three minutes stoppage time seemed like an eternity but when Maasaki San blew his whistle one final time tonight it resulted in joyous celebrations not just at Bukit Jalil but throughout Malaysia.

Congratulations Young Tigers!

Other results:
India vs Qatar: 1-1 (Qatar won 4-2 on aggregate)
Iran vs Iraq: 0-2 (Iraq won 2-1 on aggregate)
Palestine vs Bahrain: 1-2 (2-2 on aggregate, Bahrain won on away goals rule)
Yemen vs Australia: 0-4 (Australia won 7-0 on aggregate)
Kuwait vs Japan: 2-1 (Japan won 4-3 on aggregate)
Turkmenistan vs Syria: 0-4 (Syria won 6-2 on aggregate)
UAE vs DPR Korea: 1-1 (UAE won 2-1 on aggregate)
Jordan vs Korea Republic: 1-1 (Korea won 4-2 on aggregate)
Hong Kong vs Uzbekistan: 0-2 (Uzbekistan won 3-0 on aggregate)
Vietnam vs Saudi Arabia: 1-4 (Saudi Arabia won 6-1 on aggregate)
Oman vs China: 3-1 (Oman won 4-1 on aggregate)