Friday, 18 November 2011

Fighting spirit and determination wins Malaysia ticket to semi finals in SEA Games

An early  solitary goal by Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim sunk Indonesia in their last Group A encounter at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium here tonight, thus enabled Malaysia to qualify for Saturday's semi-final.

With the win, Malaysia overtook Indonesia to top Group A by a one-point difference.

On papers, Malaysia will have an easy passage in the semi-final against Myanmar while Indonesia will face an uphill task as they will be pitted against Vietnam, runners-up in the Laos SEA Games 2009, in another semi-final.

Playing before about 100,000 partisan crowd, the Malaysian under 23 squad were not overawed and hardly had the cheers and jeers died down, substitute midfielder Syahrul Azwari, 18, stunned the stadium when he scored the solitary goal in the 17th minute.

The grounder from inside the penalty box caught Indonesian goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa flat footed, much to the ecstasy of a handful of Malaysian supporters from the terraces.

Despite being taunted by the Indonesian crowd, the Malaysian squad continued to pile their pressure against the host.

National coach Ong Kim Swee was given the marching orders by the referee for reprimanding a linesman for not raising the flag when Syahrul Azwari was floored by an Indonesian defender.

Malaysian squandered several chances in the first and second half, including one which hit a near post midway through the first half.

On the other hand, Indonesia came close to equalise the score but their finishings went begging.

Commenting on the victory, Kim Swee said the Malaysian squad stayed calm throughout the match despite the jeers from the crowd.

"They played with determination to win the match to ensure that the football gold medal is ours.

"I am happy with their spirit and determination from the first until the final whistle and from the first match until today," he added.

Indonesia coach Rahmad Darmawan said he had no excuse for the defeat as Malaysia played very well.

"Our fans are dejected but we will redeem our defeat," he added.

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