Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Olympic squad get convincing win against Australian club

The Young Tigers laid down a marker for their maiden voyage in the S-League next season after coasting to a 3-0 friendly win over Sydney FC in Sydney yesterday. 

Although the A-League club fielded an under-strength side, the national Under-22 team also only had three regulars in the starting line-up.

Coach Ong Kim Swee stayed true to his word to give several fringe and new players a run out and he was not disappointed by the performance as Kuala Lumpur striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri netted twice late on after  K. Gurusamy had given Young Tigers a first-half lead through a free-kick.

"It was a positive performance even though Sydney only fielded a reserve team. The players showed positive signs although I only started with three senior players, if you can call them that.

"The rest all did well but I will be making some changes for our next match tomorrow (today against Central Coast Mariners)," said Kim Swee when contacted in Sydney yesterday.

Centre-back Muslim Ahmad, striker A. Thamil Arasu and Gurusamy were the only  regulars to start as defenders Amer Saidin, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim and Shahrul Saad, midfielder S. Sivanesan and striker Izuan Solahuddin were all given a chance to impress.

Kelantan right-back Shahrul caught Kim Swee's eye with his composure and positioning with a view to taking over from Mahalli Jasuli, who will be ineligible for the Asian Under-22 Championship qualifiers next year.

"Shahrul was very calm and organised despite just a few days training with us. He can also play in the centre of defence but I put him on the right as I need to find someone to replace Mahalli.

"It's only one match and I still need to see how the new players perform over a series of games because their performances need to be consistent," said Kim Swee, who also had words of praise for Hazwan.

The Labuan-born striker came on in the last 20 minutes and scored his first goal when he intercepted a pass before a tap in off an Ahmad Fakri Saarani's cross despite being put under pressure for his second in injury time.

"Hazwan came on in the final 20 minutes and both his goals were well taken. The first one was a mistake by the defence and the second was not easy as he was under pressure in the box but still found space to score," said Kim Swee.

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