Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Malaysia beat Indonesia to win gold in SEA Games

Defending champions Malaysia retained the coveted SEA Games football gold when they defeated hosts Indonesia 4-3 on penalty kicks in a blood-and-guts clash at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Senayan last night.

It was their first ever back-to-back success in the history of the Games and also took Malaysia’s gold tally to a respectable 59 – 14 more than projected. It also denied Indonesia the gold that they wanted most to cap their domination of these Games.

Malaysia’s heroes were goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and skipper Baddrol Bakhtiar. Khairul for stopping Indonesia’s last kick by Ferdinan Sinaga and Baddrol for tucking away the winner in the shootout.

The gutsy Malaysians had fought back from an early goal down to equalise and looked good for a win in regulation time. But poor finishing saw the tie forced into extra-time which also failed to produce a winner.

In the ensuing shootout, Gunawan, who scored the opening goal for Indonesia, turned villain when he missed his spot kick to give Malaysia the advantage before Ahmad Fakri Saarani blew his attempt to make it 2-2. Khairul then did his magic and Baddrol made sure the gold went to Malaysia.

It was heartbreak for the 100,000 raucous fans who could not accept defeat and threw water bottles into the stands.

For Indonesia, it was a second major blow in a year, having lost to Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championships (4-2 on aggregate) here 11 months ago.

Malaysia should have sealed the match in 90 minutes. They had more chances compared to Indonesia, who only looked dangerous on the break.

Coach Ong Kim Swee had to start without three key players who were on the crock list - forwards Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim, Izzaq Faris Ramlan and midfielder Wan Zaharulnisam Wan Zakaria.

All three were key hands who had scored crucial goals in Malaysia’s campaign – Syahrul in the 1-0 win over Indonesia earlier and Izzaq who scored the winning goal in the 2-0 decision against Thailand.

Yet, the Malaysians showed character to take on the Indonesians and silence the ‘Senayan Roar’ with their gutsy display in a pulsating match.

The home fans did their part cheering their team on and singing patriotic songs to raise their game. But it was Malaysia who were on the offensive and kept the fans on edge throughout.

A defensive lapse saw Malaysia concede an early goal when Gunawan nodded in from a corner-kick beating goalkeeper Khairul in the fifth minute.

The Malaysians were under tremendous pressure from the starting whistle with speedy Octo Maniani and Titus Bonai creating havoc down the flanks.

Goalkeeper Khairul did well to make two crucial saves from attempts by Titus and striker Patrich Wanggai in the opening four minutes.

But the Malaysians did well to regain their composure and shut-off the deafening roar of the vociferous fans.

They had a golden chance to draw level but Mohd Asraruddin’s point blank header from a corner-kick was saved by Indonesian goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga in the 10th minute.

Then, Malaysia had a good spell in the Indonesian half with playmakers K. Gurusamy and skipper Baddrol winning most of the possession in midfied.

The Malaysians began to grow in confidence and could have got the equaliser if not for striker A. Thamil Arasu’s hasty shot in front of goal in the 15th minute.

The Indonesians’ early fire fizzled out as Malaysia dominated the proceedings with their neat short passess and it was not long before they found the net through Mohd Asraruddin in the 34th minute.

Baddrol put through Mohd Asraruddin to score from a diving header from close range.
The second-half was all Malaysia and striker Ahmad Fakri could have secured the win if not for his missed sitters in front of goal in the 50th and 63rd minutes.

MALAYSIA: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Mahalli Jasuli, Mohd Azmi Zubir, Mohd Fadhli Sas, Mohd Asraruddin Putra Omar (Fandi Othman), Mohd Irfan Fazail, A. Thamil Arasu (Yong Kuong Yong), Baddrol Bakhtiar, K. Gurusamy (Mohd Nazmi Faiz), Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Mohd Muslim Ahmad.

INDONESIA: Kurnia Meiga, Mahadirga Lasut (Hendro Siswanto), Egi Melgiansyah, Octo Maniani, Gunawan Dwi Cahyo, Hasim Kipuw, Andik Vermansyah (Ferdinan Sinaga), Diego Michiels, Titus Bonai, Patrich Wanggai (Ramdani Lestaluhu), Abdul Rahman.

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