Thursday, 17 November 2011

Malaysia hoping to overcome bad record against Indonesia in SEA Games

Everybody remembers Malaysia lifting the Suzuki Cup (Asean Football Federation Championships) at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium here in Senayan 11 months ago. But only a few remember that the team never beat Indonesia away en route to the title.

The national team won the two-leg final 4-2 on aggregate. But they lost on both occasions they played Indonesia at the intimidating Senayan in front of 100,000 belligerent fans.

First, they were thrashed 5-1 in the opening game and then 2-1 in the return-leg of the final.
Malaysia had won the first leg 3-0 in Kuala Lumpur.

Centre-back Mohd Fadhli Shas is one of the six players from the successful Suzuki Cup squad here in Jakarta for the SEA Games campaign.

“It’s not going to be easy playing Indonesia in front of their partisan crowd. We lost to them twice here last year.

“We must shut them out by getting an early goal. As for their hostile fans, we just have to shut them out of our minds,” said Mohd Fadhli after a training session yesterday.

Head coach Ong Kim Swee had the same message for the team.

“This is the best chance to see whether they are championship material.

“If we are to go far, this is where they have to raise their game and show character to win. If we can get past this Indonesian hurdle, then the future looks bright for these players,” said Kim Swee.

Indonesia are through to the semi-finals in Group A with nine points from three wins. They thrashed Cambodia 6-0, defeated Singapore 2-0 and Thailand 3-1.

Second-placed Malaysia are in the driver’s seat for the other slot with seven points. A draw against Indonesia tomorrow would be sufficient to clinch the semi-final ticket.

Singapore, on four points, have a mathematical chance.

They have to beat Thailand by four clear goals and then hope that Malaysia get trounced by Indonesia if they are to advance.

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