Thursday, December 9, 2010

Malaysia 5 Laos 1 - Five-goal Malaysians book semi spot

Palembang: Two goals from Amri Yahyah sent Malaysia on their way to a 5-1 win over Laos in their final Group A clash on Tuesday evening, with the victory securing K. Rajagopal's team a place in the semi-finals of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.

The win marked a dramatic turnaround for a Malaysian team that lost their opening game of the tournament against group hosts Indonesia before drawing with Thailand three days later.

Victory over Laos coupled with Thailand's loss at the hands of Indonesia in Jakarta means Malaysia's total of four points is enough to take them into the last four, where they will meet the winners of Group B.

The action came thick and fast in the opening exchanges, with Malaysia taking the lead with just four minutes on the clock when Nohshahrul Idlan carved open the Laos defence before clipping the ball into the centre and Amri 'sdiving header found the back of the net.

Just four minutes later, though, the Laotians were back on level terms as Lamnao Singto was given time and space in the middle by the Malaysian defence to head home from eight yards out.

As the game settle down after such a blistering start, it was Laos who looked the more likely to add to the scoreline with Konekham Inthammavong and Lamnao both going close.

Malaysia, however, pulled themselves back into the game and, five minutes before the end of the half, Amri pushed his side into the lead as Safiq Rahman turned the Laos defence before slipping the ball through to the Selangor midfielder, who made no mistake from close range.

Laos refused to be outdone as the game recommenced after halftime and, seven minutes into the second half Khampheng Sayavutthi tried his luck from close to 35 yards from goal, only to see his right-foot drive drift just off target.

With the weather taking a turn for the worse and rain pouring down, Malaysia put more daylight between themselves and David Booth's team with just 17 minutes to go.

As the Laotians tired, Amirulhadi Zainal charged down Kitsada Thongkhen's attempt to clear the ball before racing in on goal and slotting his effort home.

Four minutes later Malaysia made it 4-1 with a virtual carbon copy of their third, only this time it was Norshahrul who capitalized on Kitsada's mistake to score a goal his overall performance deserved.

Deep in injury time the Malaysians claimed a fifth when the ball somehow looped into the top corner off the boot of Kitsada, completing a stellar day for the SEA Games gold medal winners.

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup 


Rajagobal not impressed by sloppy show 

PALEMBANG: Malaysia coach K.Rajagobal's joy at seeing his side qualify for the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup was tempered by his disappointment at the sloppy performance turned in by his players in their 5-1 win over Laos on Tuesday.

Amri Yahyah gave the Malaysians an early lead and netted again late in the half after Lamnao Singto had put the Laotians back on level terms. It remained 2-1 until 17 minutes from time before late goals by Amirulhadi Zainal, Norshahrul Idlan and Mahalli Jasuli added some gloss to the score.

Despite the emphatic margin of victory, Rajagobal was not impressed by what he saw in his team's final Group A match at the Jaka Baring Stadium.

"We started the match a bit sloppy. Of course we got an early goal but we were a bit slow in our movement and we allowed them to get the equaliser soon afterwards," he said.

"After that it was a bit of a worrying time for us because they were on top but we regained the lead five minutes before half-time and in the second half, we managed to score again and our confidence began to flow from there.

"I don't think that our performance was that good tonight. To be fair, we were feeling quite tired because a lot of our energy was taken up by our match against Thailand."

The win might not have been enough for Malaysia to qualify for the semi-finals if Thailand had managed to beat Indonesia in a game being simultaneously in Jakarta. But the Malaysians learned late in their match that the Indonesians had recovered from a goal down to lead 2-1.

"We were receiving updates about the other match throughout our game and it was only in the last few minutes that we found out that Indonesia were winning and that we were going through.

"Of course the team is delighted but now we will go back to Malaysia and check on our injuries and see what happens in the other group and who we will face in the semi-finals.

"We had a lot of injuries coming in to this tournament and we have another one now with Safee Sali injured and two players - Asraruddin Putra and Fadhli Shas – down with fever.

For Laos coach David Booth, the game turned into a nightmare after a bright start by his charges.

"On their first three goals, Malaysia really didn't have to do anything. We just gave them the goals. They were absolutely awful mistakes by us," the Englishman said.

"It's hard enough when you are trying to win the game and then you make those sorts of errors. It was very disappointing because we attacked very well but then we just gave it away. There's nothing much more I can say really".

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup

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