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Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 8:45:00 PM
Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 8:58:35 PM
by k. rajan
Singapore goalkeeper Mohd Syazwan Buhari punching the ball out before Malaysia's A D. Saarvindran gets to it in their Merdeka Tournament opener. – Bernama Photo
KUANTAN: The National Under-23 boys got off to a dream start in the Merdeka Tournament after defeating 10-man Singapore 1-0 in the opening game at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Saturday night.
Ong Kim Swee’s men came alive in the second half with A. Thamil Arasu netting the winner 30 seconds into the second half.
Malaysia could have doubled their lead but winger Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor snuffed a spot kick after Singapore’s Mohd Afiq Yunos was red-carded for using his hands to deny Junior Edlstal’s goal-bound header in the 54th minute.
The heavy downpour an hour before the kick-off and the drizzle after that left the pitch water-logged and made play difficult for both teams.
The Malaysians were in control of the match with skipper Irfan Fazail combining well with Junior Eldstal in midfield but the soggy pitch disrupted the Malaysian’s short passing game.
Despite Malaysia holding the Lions’ share of ball possession, it was the Singaporeans who had the best chance to score.
Winger Quak Jun Yi came close to put his side in front after beating the Malaysian defence but was denied by Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi in the second minute.
Singapore’s goalkeeper Mohd Syazwan Buhari who joined the team barely four hours before the match was the hero for his side, denying several Malaysian attempts at goal.
Kim Swee’s men upped the ante after half-time and got their goal from a quick move off the start.
Striker Thamil brought down Eldstal’s flick from the centre circle before out-muscling Singapore defenders to fire in the goal.
The back-pedalling Singapore were reduced to 10 men after Afiq deliberately handled the ball from going into the goal.
However, winger Wan Zack Haikal who was a menace for the Singapore defence could only take a tame shot from the spot and Syazwan had no problems saving the attempt.
Despite the Lions being reduced to 10 men, they kept their discipline and held on to deny Malaysia from adding to their goal tally.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Merdeka Tournament, Malaysia, Singapore, A. Thamil Arasu, Mohd Afiq Yunos
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