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Friday December 13, 2013 MYT 7:41:00 PM
Friday December 13, 2013 MYT 10:13:14 PM
by starsport team
A. Thamil Arasu (right) and a Laos player struggle to get to the ball during the Malaysia-Laos SEA Games match on Dec 13, 2013. Malaysia won 4-1. – Bernama Photo
NAYPYITAW: Ahmad Hazwan Bakri bagged a hat-trick to lead Malaysia to a 4-1 win over Laos in their second Group A match in the SEA Games football competition at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium in Nyapyitaw.
The Labuan-born player struck in the sixth, 59th and 87th minutes while the other goal was courtesy of Ketsada Souksavanh’s own goal in the 80th minute.
Laos’ lone reply was also courtesy of an own goal – Malaysian defender K. Reuben – in the 40th minute.
But it was all about Hazwan on Friday. He was simply relieved to have finally scored for the team after a long drought.
“I hope the hat-trick will give me the momentum to keep scoring in our next matches and I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders,” said a jubilant Hazwan, who had been hampered by injuries and loss of form prior to hitting a purple patch on Friday.
“My hat-trick is a team effort ... we played well hard for the win. We have two more games left – against Singapore and Vietnam – and we have to work even harder.
“We stand a better chance of qualifying for the semi-finals now but we need to keep up the good work.”
Coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee kept his promise and rotated the squad, starting with five new players – striker Hazwan, winger D. Saarvindran, defender Nazirul Naim Che Hashim and midfielders Mohd Nasir Basharuddin and S. Sivanesan.
Kim Swee said that the team played better in the second half and that there was still room for improvement.
“We collected three points and it’s a good result, with two more matches remaining. I will take the full points over a good performance as this is a competition,” said Kim Swee.
“Hazwan’s hat-trick is a good sign for us ... he didn’t score in the friendly against FC Ryukyu (Dec 4) but did well here. It’s good to have a healthy competition among the strikers.”
In the women's football, Malaysia hope to continue their fairytale when they face fancied Thailand at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium in Mandalay on Saturday.
On Thursday, the national women's team had upstaged Laos 3-1 in the opening game.
Coach Jacob Joseph said they cannot afford to take chances and need at least a draw in their last group match against the Thais to clinch their ticket to the semi-finals.
“We won't know our semi-final berth until the Thailand-Laos match,” said a concerned Jacob.
He said the players had done well in the opening game beating Laos, who had thrashed them 5-1 in Jakarta two years ago.
“Women's football is popular here. There were 25,000 fans watching Myanmar beat the Philippines. If at all we qualify to the semi-finals, we hope to avoid the home team,” said Jacob.
Tags / Keywords:
football, SEA Games, Malaysia, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Mandalay, Laos, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri
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