Thursday, November 12, 2009
Malaysia up against Great Wall
MALAYSIA edged Scotland 3-2 in yet another first-half show to keep afloat in the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill, New Zealand yesterday.
And after the harrowing experience against Scotland, Malaysia waited with abated breath for New Zealand to throw a lifeline when they thrashed China 6-1.
Now Malaysia must beat China on Saturday to play in the final of the Qualifier. China have nine points, and Malaysia seven, which means even a draw is disastrous.
Malaysia have scored nine goals in the four matches, of which eight were delivered in the first half. And from the nine goals they let in, seven were scored in the second half.
“It must be the erratic wind at the stadium. It is so strong and cold, that even those who are on the stands start to feel numb after the first half,” said assistant team manager M. Gobinathan.
Against the Scotts yesterday, 18-year-old Faizal Saari delivered a brace in the seventh and 27th minutes, while Amin Rahim scored off a penalty stroke in the 34th minute.
And when the second half started, Malaysia let in two goals and almost paid the price for going into sleep mode.
“When Scotland scored their first goal (Kenneth Bain, 37th) early after the re-start, mistakes started creeping into the match and it almost turned disastrous when they scored their second (Stephen Dick, 49th).
“However, we held on and now have a chance to re-deem this tournament by beating China,” said Gobinathan.
Gobinathan then watched the China-New Zealand match and believes the Chinese threw the match.
“China looked like they were just going through the paces and did not trouble the Kiwis much. I believe they did not want to push hard, because they are hoping for three points, or a draw against Malaysia in their final pool match, which will take them into the final,” said Gobinathan.
New Zealand, already in the final, will go through the paces against Austria tomorrow.
RESULTS: Malaysia 3 Scotland 2, Austria 2 Wales 0, New Zealand 6 China 1.
TODAY: REST DAY
TOMORROW (Malaysian Time): Scotland v Wales (5am), New Zealand v Austria (7am), China v Malaysia (9am).
P W D L F A Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 24 5 12
China 4 3 0 1 7 9 9
Malaysia 4 2 1 1 9 9 7
Austria 4 1 1 2 7 7 4
Scotland 4 1 0 3 6 15 3
Wales 4 0 0 4 4 12 0