Sunday, September 29, 2013

Malaysia lost to a better side...

MALAYSIA gave their best, but it was not enough, and they went down 3-0 to a much more matured India in the final of the Third Edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium yesterday.
   However, the tournament has served its purpose, as Malaysia prepare for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6-15 with a better understanding of their strength and weaknesses.
   "There is no shame in this defeat as my boys gave their best but it was not enough against a much more matured India side.
    "However, this tournament has shown me what I need to do in the remaining days leading to the Junior World Cup, and that is the most important lesson we will be taking from the Third Edition silver medal," said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
   The Taman Daya Stadium was filled to the brim with hardly any space to swing a cat, as 10,000 fans swamped the 3,500 capacity stadium to cheer coach K. Dharmaraj's charges.
    They were all around the stadium, which only has seating on one side, while the rest of them sat under trees, and stood around the perimeter fence.
    The match progressed slowly, and only in the 12th minute it actually started with a penaty corner won by India. Malaysian runners took the corner apart, and a swift counter attack almost landed Malaysia the first goal but eight-goal hero Shahril Saabah missed a reverse stick attempt.
    India drew first blood when Amon Mirash Tirkey's field attempt sailed into the goalmouth in the 22nd minute, and the match went into higher gear as Malaysia went looking for the equaliser.
   India were the better side in the first half, as Malaysia had to defend deep and the match almost went into half-time but all hell broke loose when United States umpire awarded India a penalty corner a few seconds after the half-time hooter had blown.
    Malaysia protested, but the umpire said he did not hear the hooter as the crowd were too noisy. There consecutive penalty corners were awarded after that, but  the Malaysian runners took all three apart.
    However, Azri Hassan was flashed the yellow card in that moment of mayhem and Malaysia will re-start with 10 players after the break.
   India pressed hard to increase their lead, but even after a total of eight penalty corners by the 45th minute, they could not score as Malaysain goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman brings out saves after saves.
    Malaysia finally get their act together and win their first two penalty corners of the match in the 46th and 50th minutes, but the ball refused to go in.
    And even though Malaysia were the better side in the second half, a mistake in the 55th minute saw Yousuf Affan converting a one-two with Ramandeep Singh for a 2-0 lead.
   India skipper Manpreet Singh nailed the third goal in the 64th minute and it was all over for Malaysai.
   RESULTS --  Final -- Malaysia 0 India 3; Third-Fourth: Pakistan 0 Argentina 0 (Argentina win shoot-out 3-0); Fifth-Sixth: South Korea 6 England 0.