Monday, 6 August 2007

Our Own Hindustani Heroes

We are still unsure what to call the Under-20 and handsome coach K Rajagobal. If you have any suggestion, please email us.

Hakim left a comment that we missed reporting a unique event where for once, we were not on the receiving end of a SEVEN goal drubbing. Nice of him to catch that news before us. Actually, BorakBola have been closely following the results from the AFF website [] as news from everywhere else have been scarce but even then the results at the AFF website is quite slow. So we've been slow as well to report on this.

Someone out there gasped. "What? It wasn't us who got whipped? Nooo". Well, Yes. and we'll get to that in a bit.

Okay, okay. Some of you might been left in the dark here. Allow us to explain. There is an ASEAN Football Federation U20 Tournament going on right now in Vietnam. It started on the 31st of July and involves the AFF members. Yes, you can call it the Tiger Cup for the kids. (Tiger Cub Cup? Hehehe)

The Malaysian Under-20 squad, is in Group A, along with Myanmar, Singapore and Laos. K Rajagobal is looking at this competition to allow the boys gain some exposure and experience before the AFC Qualifiers in October.

Game One: Malaysia v Singapore (1 Aug)
In the first game, K Rajagobal boys defeated Singapore 3-0 with goals from Yusanee Saad and Ahmad Fakri Saarani in the first half and Firdaus Azizul scored the third in the 63rd minute. Surprisingly (we really should be giving our boys more credit than this, but really it's a surprise), despite Singapore looked like the likelier team to score first, Malaysia scored against the run of play when Yusanee headed in from a cross while the Young Lions keeper was still alighting his MRT at Bedok.

Singapore didn't help themselves when they were down to 10 men after Nurhazwan Shaik was expelled for a second yellow card. Despite the fact that our own Muhammad Irfan Ghani was also shown the red card for a second bookable offence late in the game, Malaysia managed to hold on for the win.

Game Two: Malaysia v Myanmar (3 Aug)
In a match which was eventually to decide the top two teams from Group A, Malaysia lost narrowly after Myanmar scored from a looping freekick in the 89th minute to end the game 2-1 to Myanmar.

Captain K Gurusamy managed to level the score earlier in the 82nd minute after Myanmar had scored from another set-piece in the first half, but Malaysia were unable to ride the pressure.

This means, that Malaysia would need at least a draw in their last game with Laos to qualify for the knock-out phase. The game against Laos was played yesterday and we searched all over for the results in the local media but we couldn't find it (damn these FAM glasses!). Of course, when Hakim alerted us to it we scooted over the AFF's website and there it was...

Game Three: Malaysia v Laos (5 Aug)
The knack of coming back after conceding, (in this particular instance, twice) is surely a positive (even if it's not good for the heart) point of the U-20s.

The game started at the Thanh Long Sports Complex in Hanoi in the rain where within 5 minutes, Laos took the lead with a shot from the top of the penalty area. Laos continued with the long shot tactic throughout the first half whereas Malaysia wanted to bring the ball closer to the opposition's keeper before taking a crack on goal.

And when the sun came out and Laos failed to sustain the pressure, Malaysia's tactic proved to be fruitful and they grabbed the equaliser through Mohd Syazwan Zinon with two minutes left to the break.

Laos then scored again after the break as the Malaysian players were still digesting their halftime Powerbars but superskipper K. Gurusamy did a replay of the Myanmar game by pulling level before putting them ahead with a header after that.

With that, Laos collapsed and Malaysian opened the floodgates with goals from Abdul Shukor Jusoh (77th minute), Firdaus Azizul (82nd) and Yusaini Che Saad (89th).

In injury time Myanmar scored another goal but Malaysia made it a magnificent seven with a yet another strike through Mohd Shazlan Alias for the final scoreline of 7-3.

Yes, you didn't read wrong and we are not pulling your leg. Rajagobal boys did slam the net seven times.

Well done boys. Well done for keeping the flame alive.

Malaysia will now meet Group B leaders Thailand in the semi-final tomorrow. We wish them, the best of luck.

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