Gimme, Gimme Gimme

28 Jul 2011



It is the end of the road for Malaysia in their journey to the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil. The 1-1 scoreline at the end of the second round, second leg match at Bukit Jalil meant we were eliminated by Singapore on a 6-4 aggregate score after losing the first match 5-3 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

In a way, I would say the elimination is a blessing in disguise for Malaysian football as it will force those who are responsible to take stock of the qualifying campaign and iron out the deficiencies in the Malayan Tigers in order to maintain the recent standard that Malaysian football fans have been accustomed to.

The team did not reach the level they were at during the successful 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup campaign.

Photo by: Shazli Shamsuddin

Poor defending have been the bane of the campaign, as seen from the first round matches against Chinese Taipei. It continued in the first leg match against Singapore though the fighting spirit to reduce the score to 4-3 after trailing 4-1 at the interval gave Malaysians hope they could finish the job in Bukit Jalil despite conceding a late goal as they lost 5-3.

From mad redo1's perspective, Rajagobal's men do not know how to defend as a team and prone to lose concentration too many times during a match. Almost all goals conceded were results from this weakness.

Our midfielders do not track opposing players properly which meant a simple one-two could easily open up our defence. All these were evident during the match against The Lions, who despite many of their players could qualify for the next Academy Awards, were much better tactically and technically than The Tigers.

Of course, there is no point talking about their naturalised players as we must realise, in order to become a footballing power, we must be able to match any kind of players our opponents field against us.

For now, we simply are not ready for that. Rather than seeing the team becoming a punchbag for the football powerhouses in Asia, I would rather see we prepare ourselves for the next assignment, which is the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, where we are the defending champions and co-host with Thailand.

As for the Lions, they could surprise a few people with the presence of their naturalised players but to see them in action in Brazil in 2014 would be asking too much of them. They have better chance of grabbing an Oscar at the Academy Awards!


24 Jul 2011

Goals Galore... the Tiny Stadium.

mad redo1 was no where in front of the TV to catch the first leg of the second round match between Singapore and Malaysia at the tiny Jalan Besar Stadium for a berth in the third round of the Asian section of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The reason being he was away at a wedding reception, celebrating the marriage of his niece, Maizura 'Juya' Ismail to a Dane, Matthias Varming at the Felda Villa Restaurant. But the news that came through was shocking to say the least as the home side ran riot and went down the tunnel at the interval leading the beleaguered Malaysians by 4-1.

Wearing the Malaysia yellow jersey under his green casual shirt specially bought for the occassion, mad redo1 joked with other guests about the score would be 4-3 when the referee blew his final whistle.

He was amazed when the news came and the score did become 4-3. Unfortunately it was not the final one as the home side managed to add another ten minutes before time to bring a two goal advantage when the two sides meet again for the second leg at Bukit Jalil.

Would the Malayan Tigers be able to find the two goals needed to ensure a passage to the third round, the answer would be on Thursday.

Come on Tigers!


8 Jul 2011

Tough Companies...

...for Young Tigers.

Malaysia has been drawn into Group C of the 2012 London Olympics Asian Final Qualifying Round together with favourite Japan and two West Asian nations, Bahrain and Syria. It will be a stern test for Ong Kim Swee's boys who were placed in the fourth pot during the draw.

The Young Tigers will open their campaign away to Japan on 21-09 before playing their next two matches at home against the West Asians in November. Syria will be the first to come for their fixture on 23-11 and four days later Malaysia have Bahrain as their guest on 27-11.

Their next two matches will take place in February next year with Malaysia going to Bahrain on 05-02 before entertaining the Japanese on 22-02. The final group match will take place on 14-03 with the Malaysians having to travel to Syria.

Of course being in the final rounds is already a good achievement for Malaysia, which has consistently failed to progress past the first round of any continental competitions for a number of years now.

But in the current feel good situation in Malaysia in regards of their national football team, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Young Tigers have the capability to spring a few upsets against the more fancied teams in their group.

Kim Swee's plans for these matches are to minimise errors that his players could make as they could prove fatal against the stronger teams in their group. Furthermore they would stand an outside chance of qualifying if the Malaysians could take full advantage of their home matches.

The Draw:
GROUP A - Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman
GROUP B - Australia, Uzbekistan, Iraq, UAE
GROUP C - Japan, Bahrain, Syria, Malaysia


7 Jul 2011

Right... the Wire!

As a Ganuan mad redo1 was hoping to see Terengganu winning their maiden Super League title this season. However, prior to the kick-off of the last round of matches in the 2011 Super League season, he realised that The Turtles only had a small percentage of chances of doing that.

Three points behind leaders Kelantan and two behind Selangor the only way the Super League title coming to Kuala Terengganu was by hoping Saba
h to win against The Stags and Selangor were unable to get a win in Ipoh against Perak. Terengganu also needed to do their part of the bargain by winning big against Felda United at Kelana Jaya.

How mad redo1 wished he could be there to capture the moment but it was the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium for him to cover the T-Team versus Kuala Lumpur match.

With the Terengganu club side already assured of their place in the Super League, the match was more significant for the City Boys who were third from bottom and needed to get at least a draw in Kuala Terengganu.

Thus it was no surprise when they raced to a two goal lead in the first half through Mohamad Badrul Hisyam Azmi. However Indra Putra Mahyuddin reduced the deficit towards the end of the period through a header from a corner.

In the second half Kuala Lumpur restored their two goal lead when Badrul completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, even though T-Team goalkeeper, Ismail Abdul Rahman managed to save the initial kick the striker maintained his cool and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper, whose error gifted Kuala Lumpur their second goal in the first half.

Substitute Shamsul Kamal made the scoreline 3-2 towards the end of the match and despite some late pressure T-Team could not find their way past Kuala Lumpur defence again, condemning them to the thirteenth defeat of the season.

Meanwhile in Kelana Jaya, Terengganu raced to a 4-1 half-time lead with goals coming from Reeshafiq Alwi, Abdul Manaf Mamat and a brace by Abdul Hadi Yahya. However news coming in from Kota Kinabalu were not that rosy as The Stags had taken the lead against Sabah.

It turned out that tonight was not just about the race to become the 2011 league champions but also the race to win the golden boot. Malaysian internationals Hadi of Terengganu and Kelantan's Norshahrul Idlan Talaha were neck to neck to become 2011 topscorer, an award won by Terengganu's Ashaari Shamsuddin in 2010.

Then in the second half, Hadi found something extra and found the Felda United's net twice to make it twenty goals to his name and ensuring the golden boot would make its way to Terengganu again.

At the end of the night, The Turtles could not overhaul The Stags which were crowned as Super League Champions for the first time while Terengganu finished in their highest ever position since the start of the Super League, as runners-up which was an improvement from last season's third place. Selangor finished third after being held to a goal-less draw by Perak.

The immediate attention for Malaysian football fans would be the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers against Singapore on the 21 and 28 of July. Then it will be a break for Ramadhan before the Malaysia Cup tournament begin a week after Aidil-Fitri in September.



4 Jul 2011

Away Goals...

...Rule for the Tigers.

It was an awkward time for us in Malaysia to watch the second leg of the 2014 World Cup Qualifying first round match against Chinese Taipei. The kick-off was merely twenty minutes before the obligatory Maghrib prayers.

mad redo1 decided to have his dinner first with the family at Batu Buruk and watch the second half at the pre-arranged spot of The 2 Cafe at Jalan Pejabat. But the good guys at Yee Stall switched the channel to TV2 which carried the match 'live'. With his brother in law, Epie joining him, they decided to stay for the fist half.

Malaysia were already defending a free-kick at that moment but it did not bring any fruition to the home side. Then up to the other side, Dato' Rajagobal's men won themselves a free-kick of their own, but it was more than 30 metres away. In my so called 'expert' opinion it would take something special for any player to score from that distance.

The next minute this 'expert' was jumping with joy as Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak's nestled at the back of the Taiwan's net. It was quite surreal watching the flight of the ball which hit the top corner of the goal before going in.

It was a goal that should have killed the match as Malaysia had their own away goal, meaning Taiwan had to score twice to tie the match, and three goals to ensure their passage into the next round.

Nearing the half hour mark, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha should have sealed the Tigers' berth in the second round. Unfortunately, the Kelantan top-scorer who was unmarked as Amirulhadi Zainal delivered his cutback skied his shot when it seemed easier to score for the player of his reputation.

If his effort had gone into the net, the morale of the Taiwanese players would have gone down. Instead, they pushed Malaysia back and won a corner from their next attack. From this set-piece Malaysia defensive frailties began to show when slack marking allowed two Chinese Taipei players to have shots at their goal, the first one was blocked but the rebound was turned past Sharbinee Allawee by Chang Han, who also scored in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur.

Defender Asrarudin Putra who was nearest to the goalscorer should have held his hand up taking the blame for letting the player he was supposed to be marking the time and space to put the ball into the net.

The home side, buoyed by the support from the compatriots who were allowed into the venue without any charge began looking for the second goal which would tie the aggregate score.

Then five minutes from the interval, Vietnamese referee Vo Minh Tri awarded a free-kick to Malaysia after a foul just outside the penalty area. This time the distance was much shorter and the probability of getting another goal was higher.

Skipper Safiq Rahim stepped up and once again sent Malaysians into delirium as his effort went over the wall and went in off the far post, leaving Chinese Taipei goalkeeper, Lin Po-Cheng totally helpless.

But the lead did not last long. Chinese Taipei took advantage from Malaysia failure to maintain possession. When they regained the ball inside the Malaysian half did not seem to be a threat. But a few short passes later saw a run into the box by a Taiwan player was halted by Mahali Jasuli's trailing leg and referee Minh Tri blew for a penalty.

Sharbinee guessed right and managed to get his hands to the ball, unfortunately it was not enough to prevent Chen Po-Liang effort from going into the net. The post became the brunt of the goalkeeper's anger as Taiwanese celebrated.

With the score level at 2-2 as the half time whistle was blown mad redo1 left for the Al-Muktafibillah Shah Mosque for Maghrib prayers. After discharging his duties he and Epie headed for The 2 Cafe where another friend, Alep was waiting.

The play was quite even between the two teams. However going into the hour mark Malaysia failure to defend as a team led to their line being breached again. Po-Liang was able to find space past the static Malaysian defence and in his desperation defender, Fadhli Shas tugged at the striker's shirt.

Minh Tri once again pointed to the spot and it was part two of Po-Liang versus Sharbinee from twelve yards. This time the Terengganu goalkeeper managed to put a good solid stop to the ball and gathered it in his second attempt.

It should have disheartened The Taiwanese. Instead they continued to press and with fifteen minutes to go, Po-Liang darted into the box once again past the Malaysian defenders, who again looked static. Sharbinee came out and dived at the striker's feet. No contact was seen but the Taiwanese did a Rooney and kicked at the goalkeeper's hand, making it looked like a foul.

Minh Tri was duped as was Mike Dean at Old Trafford on that particular August day in 2009. This time it was Chen Tsan-Yuan who stepped up and took the responsibility of beating Sharbinee from the spot. The goalkeeper guessed correctly but the height and pace of the forward's effort did not give him any chance at all.

The home side was on the ascending, knowing that another goal would see them through. As for mad redo1 the last quarter of an hour of the match was the longest yet in football for him this season, even felt longer than the period he waited for the final whistle at Bukit Jalil in the FA Cup final.

Fortunately, the Malayan Tigers held on until Minh Tru blew the final whistle and booked their place in the second round on away goals rule.

There they are going to play their arch-rival Singapore in the Peninsular 'derby' over two legs. The first leg is scheduled to take place on 21 July at the compact Jalan Besar Stadium while the return match a week later on 28 July at Bukit Jalil.

To the Tigers, Congratulations!

Other results:
Pakistan vs Bangladesh 0-0 (Bangladesh won 3-0 on aggregate)
Laos vs Cambodia 6-2 (Laos won 8-6 on aggregate, after extra time)
Phillippines vs Sri Lanka 4-0 (Phillippines won 5-1 on aggregate)
Palestine vs Afghanistan 1-1 (Palestine won 3-1 on aggregate)
Macau vs Vietnam 1-7 (Vietnam won 13-1 on aggregate)
Timor Leste vs Nepal 0-5 (Nepal won 7-1 on aggregate)
Myanmar vs Mongolia 2-0 (Myanmar won 2-1 on aggregate)