Friday, March 13, 2009

Juniors win in embarrassing fashion

Malaysia’s Ahmad Tajuddin Izwan Firdaus is brought down by a Singapore player in the Four-Nation Invitational at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday. Malaysia won 2-1 — Pic: ZULKARNAIN AHMAD TAJUDDIN

THE National Juniors put up an embarrassing display when they could only beat Singapore 2-1 in the Four-Nation Invitational at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.

Consider this -- India hammered Singapore 12-0 and Pakistan beat them 8-0 but Malaysia slogged, even conceding a goal.
Short of saying pathetic, juniors coach K. Rajan used "Bad day" to sum up the situation.
Izwan Firdaus scored in the fifth minute and Faizal Saari made it 2-0 in the 51st minute. Singapore's goal was scored by P. Anbalagan in the 57th minute, and they were unlucky not to have shared points.
"Singapore always play their best against Malaysia, and it was a bad day and a bad show from my charges.
"But all is not lost, as we will rebound on Sunday (third-fourth) in the placing match," said Rajan.
Rajan also said three matches in a row took their toll on his team: "Nur Hafiq Ghaffar (penalty corner flicker) fractured his finger against Pakistan while two others picked up ankle injuries.
" I am not making excuses for this poor show, but thinking forward to the re-match on Sunday."
In another match, India rattled Pakistan in the first minute itself, to win 3-1 and keep a perfect record in the Four-Nation.
Even though both the teams were already in the final before the match, it turned out to be an entertaining affair as India attacked relentlessly after Kumar Pramod scored a first minute field goal.
Diwakar Ram (14th) and Mujtaba Danish (19th) made it uphill for Pakistan in the second half, and they could only score a consolation in the 51st minute off an Attique Muhammad penalty corner.
India and Pakistan will square off again tomorrow to decide the winners of the Four-Nation, which is being held to test the new stadium ahead of the Junior World Cup which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host on June 7-21.

Pakistan 3 Malaysia 1

Malaysia’s Mohd Jalil Mohd Marhan is tackled by two Pakistan players in their Four-Nation match at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday. Pakistan won 3-1. Pic: ZULKARNAIN AHMAD TAJUDDIN

MALAYSIA lost 3-1 to Pakistan in the Four-Nation Invitational tournament yesterday as the door to the final was slammed shut on them.

Pakistan and India, who will play their academic pool match today, have already qualified for Sunday's final with six points each.
Malaysia, who lost by the same score to India on Wednesday, gave the Pakistan players too much space and paid the price.
Pakistan led 2-0 before Malaysia narrowed the gap, but failed to find the equaliser and instead let in another goal.
The Pakistan goals were scored by Attique Muhammad (28th), Toufeeq Muhammad (40th) and Abdul Haseem (54th). Saari Faizal (48th) scored for Malaysia.
In an earlier match India drubbed Singapore 12-0.
Malaysia and Singapore will co-host the Junior World Cup on June 7-21 with both sides hosting 10 teams each.
Singapore, who have let in 20 goals in two matches, will square off against Malaysia today.
"The target was to play in the final but plenty of defensive errors were made in both the matches, so now it's back to the drawing board," said National Juniors coach K. Rajan.
"From the two matches, I noticed that the players have the ability to win but make too many silly mistakes when under attack.
"It was also clear that the players do not support each other when under attack, and this area needs urgent attention."
The Four-Nation is being held not only to test the facilities at the newly laid Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru, but also to gauge the team's level of preparation to face the rest of the world.