Friday, 3 February 2012

Malaysian national team beats Kelantan in friendly

Malaysian national team coach K. Rajagobal will have gleaned little from his side's 5-0 walkabout win over a weakened Kelantan in a friendly match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday with a host of national players missing. 

Super League champions Kelantan barely put up a struggle even with three foreign players in their starting line-up as the national team strolled to victory with a make-shift team which would hardly have given Rajagobal any food for thought.

Centre-back S. Subramaniam was the main beneficiary of the match in his first outing under Rajagobal's charge while wingers Shahurain Abu Samah and Ashaari Samsudin were also given rare starts.

Bunyamin Umar, who lost his place in the national team due to a succession of injuries, played in an unaccustomed right-back role and there were also recalls for goalkeeper Farizal Marlias and defender Faizal Muhammad.

With Rajagobal tasked to retain the AFF Cup on home ground this December, the coach took the opportunity to cast his net as wide as he could after being deprived of five Olympic team players, who could easily have made Wednesday's starting line-up, Indonesia-based Safee Sali and another five from Armed Forces who were released on the morning of the match for a crucial Premier League tie against Pahang today.

"Although Kelantan had three or four imports, we can only really assess the players when they are involved in an 'A' international match.

"I can't say that this match is enough but the fact that they worked hard is a good sign.

"They need to give consistent performances. It is no good if they play well in one game and then lose rhythm in the next.

"It is difficult to assess from this game as they need to play in high tempo games. Then we will have an idea of how they fit into the side," said Rajagobal after the match.

Malaysia opened the scoring through Asraruddin Putra Omar in the 36th minute after an exchange of passes with Safiq Rahim before Shahurain made it 2-0 three minutes before half-time with a solo effort.

The next three goals were all scored by substitutes as S. Kunanlan slid home the third in the 65th minute, followed by a Hadi Yahya tap-in 13 minutes later and Izuan Solahuddin's drive in the final minute after being set up by Kunanlan.

Kelantan were missing four players on national duty as coach Peter Butler fielded Lebanese striker Mohammed Ghadar and Ghanaians Emmanuel Okine and Dennis Antwi before giving new signings Nigerian defender Obinna Nwanieri and forward Samed Awudu Okocha of Ghana a run out in the second half.

The national team will re-group for two friendly matches against Saudi Arabia in Melbourne on Feb 20 and Philippines in Manila on Feb 29.

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