Thursday, November 8, 2018

AFF Cup: Malaysia 1 Cambodia 0

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia started their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign on a shaky note when they edged Cambodia 1-0 at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh Thursday.
  The solitary goal was scored in the 30th minute off by Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.
  In the last AFF Cup meeting two years ago, Malaysia had beaten Cambodia 3-2.
  Malaysia ranked 169 in the world started on a level note with Cambodia who are just one rung below at 170.
  The national players struggled for the first 15 minutes and even missed a few scoring chances before a wave of five players mounted an attack and it was finished off by Norshahrul.
  Zaquan Adha had a beautiful chance to hand Malaysia the lead in the 14th but failed from close range. Norshahrul then missed another chance before Safawi Rasid's 26th minute attempt hit the post and bounced away.
  In the second half, Malaysia defended stoutly and replaced goalscorer Norshahrul with another striker Shahrel Fikri in the 62nd minute.
  The match became intense as Zaquan Adha became the first player to be booked in the match for a dangerous foul in the 65th minute. And not taking any chances with the yellow, coach Tan Cheng Hoe replaced Zaquan with Hazwan Bakri.
  But in the end, Malaysia held onto the early goal for full points.
  Playing in Group A, Cheng Hoe's men next meet Laos at National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Monday.
  Malaysia’s performance in the AFF Suzuki Cup has been hot and cold as  they won their only title in 2010 and reached the semifinals in 2014. However, two years ago, Malaysia didn’t even manage to get past the group stage.

World Cup: Money trouble for Pakistan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia might play South Korea instead of Pakistan in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, as the Green Shirts are having financial as well as visa issues with three weeks to go.
  Malaysia, Pakistan, Germany and Netherlands make up Group D, and if Pakistan cant travel to India, the first reserves are South Korea.
  "Yes, I have heard about Pakistan's problems sourcing for money to play in the World Cup, and I hope they sort it out soon.
  "I know all the players personally as I used to coach them before and it would be very disheartening is they can't play in the World Cup," said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.
  The Dutch coach is still preparing Malaysia to take on Pakistan in the World Cup which starts on Nov 28.
  "Our focus is on planning against Germany, Netherlands and Pakistan right now, until we receive concrete news about any other developments," said Oltmans.
  Malaysia need to win at least one match in Group D, because the team which finishes fourth will not be involved in a play-off for higher positions but pack their bags and head for home.
  Meanwhile, in the latest report, Pakistan Hockey Federation's (PHF) request for a loan from their Cricket Board was rejected.
  According to a report on the, Pakistan's new head coach Tauqir Dar and manager Hasan Sardar confirmed they had spoken to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and requested him to provide a loan to cover the expenses for the World Cup. 
  "He was scheduled to meet us on Thursday but due to some urgent issues he spoke to us on phone. He made it clear that the PCB couldn't advance any loan to the PHF since the Federation had not returned a loan given to them by the board during the tenure of Lt General (Rtd) Tauqir Zia in early 2000," said Dar. 
  The Government has also not responded to requests for 8 million rupees from PHF.
  For the record, Pakistan had to withdraw from the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India, because they were not given visa and first reserves Malaysia made the trip instead.