UNDER 23 IN ASIA GAMES
Incheon, South Korea: Malaysia got off to a dismal start in the Asian Games football competition after going down to hosts South Korea 3-0 in a Group A match at the Mun Hak Stadium.
Coach Ong Kim Swee’s plan to “park the bus” worked well in the first-half as his boys frustrated the fast running Koreans despite leaving out seasoned centreback Mohd Aidil Zafuan from the starting line-up.
“Our boys defended well but as the game progressed it became more difficult to stop them. This is a strong Korean side and I think they are even too strong for our national team,” conceded Kim Swee from Incheon after the match.
The fleet-footed Koreans buried the Malaysians with two quick goals in a three-minute blitz.
Shin-wook doubled the score in the 78th minute after a neat one-two with Seung-dae inside the box before Seung-dae wrapped up the match, dribbling past two defenders to net the third goal.
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UNDER 17
Bangkok, Thailand: Malaysia’s hopes of qualifying for the World Under-17 Finals in Chile went up in smoke. The Harimau Muda D boys lost 2-1 to Australia in the AFC Under-16 quarter-finals at the Muangthong Stadium in Bangkok on Sunday.
Australia advanced to the semi-finals after Daniel Maskin scored the winner 15 minutes from time. The semi-finalists qualify for the Finals.
Attacking midfielder Kogileswaran Raj gave Malaysia a dream start at the half-hour mark with a brilliant solo goal when he dribbled past two defenders and fired a right-footed shot past Australia goalkeeper Duro Dragicevic.
Malaysia had several scoring opportunities but failed to make it count. Skipper Mohd Shahrul Akmal struck the top of the crossbar with a long range attempt in the 44th minute.
Then, pint-sized striker Mohd Najmuddin Samat had a couple of chances, too, but fumbled on both attempts, including an open header with only Dragicevic to beat in the 88th minute.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, substitute Peter Kekeris beat defender Mohd Ghaffar on the left and his cross was swept in by an unmarked Maskin.
NATIONAL TEAM LOSS TO INDONESIA IN FRIENDLY
Surabaya, Indonesia: The national team suffered their second straight loss under coach Dollah Salleh. Malaysia, preparing for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup in November, went down to Indonesia 2-0 in a friendly at the Gelora Delta Sidoarjo Stadium in Surabaya.
Police centreback Muslim Ahmad, who is making a comeback after a two-year lapse, scored an own goal in the 64th minute before Indonesian striker Syamsul Arif added another two minutes from time.
Felda United skipper Mohd Shukor Adan regained the skipper’s armband since he last donned national colours in 2008. Winger Indra Putra Mahayuddin and goalkeeper Azizon Kadir were some of the seasoned campaigners who were fielded.
Dollah’s reign as national coach did not start well as his side were hammered 4-1 by Tajikistan in Dushanbe on Aug 8.
Dollah has two more matches to fine tune his squad beginning with Cambodia on Sept 20 and Jordan on Oct 11. The AFF Cup is scheduled from Nov 22-Dec 20.
Malaysia are in Group B with defending champions and co-hosts Singapore and three-time champions Thailand. The fourth team will be decided from a five-team qualifying tournament, which involves Myanmar, Laos, Brunei, Timor Leste and Cambodia.