Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Striker Ahmad Fakri steers Olympic squad to victory over Australian club

Young Tigers' Ahmad Fakri Saraani could be joining an A-League club soon if he continues to show progress in his game.

The 22-year-old earned many admirers in Australia when he impressed in the Tigers' 4-1 victory over A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners at the Mingara Athletics Track in Central Coast yesterday.

Coach Ong Kim Swee said Mariners coach Graham Arnold praised Ahmad Fakri after the match.

"Ahmad Fakri played one of his best matches of the season today (yesterday). He almost single-handedly earned our team this victory," said Kim Swee when contacted yesterday.

"Arnold congratulated him after the final whistle. He, however, needs to be consistent if he hopes to go far.

"Ahmad Fakri is starting to get his form back after a slow start to the season. I hope to see him get better."

The Mariners again fielded a mix of senior A-League and youth players, just as they did in their 1-0 win over the Tigers four days ago but the national Under-22 side were better prepared yesterday.

Ahmad Fakri opened accounts in the 13th minute before substitute striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri added a brace in the 48th and 60th minutes.

Substitute A. Thamil Arasu scored the fourth for Tigers in the 71 minute.

The Mariners earned a consolation goal five minutes from time through Ben Jurman.

Kim Swee mixed and matched his team with defenders Mahalli Jasuli, Fadhli Shas, Amer Saidin and Zubir Azmi lining up in front of keeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi.

K. Gurusamy combined with Mohd Affize Faisal Mamat in midfield as Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor and Fandi Othman operated on the flanks in support of forwards Muhd Nazmi Faiz Mansor and Ahmad Fakri.

"My players combined well and were disciplined throughout the match. They played to their strength in every department.

"I hope this victory over a team who lead the A-League standings, will help them improve their confidence.

"A great way to end our season but my players need to work harder as they still lack in some areas," added Kim Swee.

The team will return to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and will resume training on Jan 3 in preparing for their debut in the Singapore league.

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