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NST Online: Sports


Football / AFF Suzuki Cup: Raja rules out 'parking the bus'

Posted: 28 Dec 2010 04:34 PM PST

2010/12/29
Reports by Devinder Singh in Jakarta
nstsport@nstp.com.my


Indonesia team manager Andi Darussalam (left) and national coach K. Rajagobal attend the pre-match press conference in Jakarta yesterday. — Picture by Khairul Ghazali

Indonesia team manager Andi Darussalam (left) and national coach K. Rajagobal attend the pre-match press conference in Jakarta yesterday. — Picture by Khairul Ghazali

K. RAJAGOBAL does not want his players to curb their attacking instincts when defending a 3-0 lead during the AFF Suzuki Cup final second leg at the Bung Karno Stadium today.

Responding to suggestions that Malaysia will employ a defensive strategy, Rajagobal said each match has to be approached differently.

"We are here with a three-goal lead and we know Indonesia are a strong and good team. We are thinking optimistically and aim to play to the best of our ability.


"The confidence level of the players has gone up with each game we play and we are focused only on this game," said Rajagobal at the pre-match press conference at the team hotel yesterday.

Indonesia will be looking for an early goal to boost their chances of overturning the deficit and Rajagobal said his side need to maintain their defensive discipline when under pressure.

"We will play as how we should and I want the players to follow my instructions," said Rajagobal. "Of course, Indonesia will attack for the early goal but we also have good strikers to trouble them.


"If we get one goal, it will put the pressure back on Indonesia. We don't just want to defend, we want to score as well.

"We have not come here for a draw, we want to be more organised than how we played at home when we had the luxury to attack at will.

"When we lose the ball, we need to get organised. It may look defensive but we can be dangerous on the break."

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Football / AFF Suzuki Cup: It's now more than just a game

Posted: 28 Dec 2010 04:32 PM PST

2010/12/29
Reports by Devinder Singh in Jakarta
nstsport@nstp.com.my


Malaysia players train near their hotel after their official training at the Senayan Sports Complex was cancelled yesterday. — Picture by Khairul Ghazali

Malaysia players train near their hotel after their official training at the Senayan Sports Complex was cancelled yesterday. — Picture by Khairul Ghazali

THE battle lines have been drawn after Malaysia were accused of cheating their way to victory in the AFF Suzuki Cup final first leg, never mind that Indonesia were outclassed.

Malaysian football stands on the brink of making history by winning the Asean Championship crown for the first time after going on a five-match unbeaten run during which goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat only let in one goal.

But as the Indonesian media harp on a laser beam incident in Bukit Jalil on Sunday which apparently contributed to their defeat, the second leg today seems to be more about getting even than playing football.


From talk show guests to celebrities and the man on the street, none passed up a chance to spit venom at not just the Malaysian team, but at the country as well.

That, however, is beside the point as this is ultimately about football as national coach K. Rajagobal was at pains to stress to the Indonesian reporters yesterday.

"There have been a lot of accusations and I don't know if it is true or not or even who was responsible.


"Your coach (Alfred Riedl) is a professional and said Indonesia lost because the players lost their concentration after conceding the first goal through a mistake.

"This is entertainment and I hope nothing else interferes with the game because ultimately only you will lose out," said Rajagobal.

Indonesia need a big win to overturn the 3-0 first leg score and having beaten Malaysia 5-1 in the opening group match in Jakarta on Dec 1, expectations are high on a repeat scoreline.


"When we lost that game 5-1, we accepted the defeat, admitted our errors and made no excuses. I want to know why can't Indonesians do the same. This is football, there will be a winner and a loser and we must know how to accept facts. All I want to see is a good game and fair play on the field," added Rajagobal.

One factor that should work in Malaysia's favour is the absence of Indonesia's tricky winger Oktovianus Maniani who is suspended after picking up his second caution of the tournament in Bukit Jalil.

Also, history is on Malaysia's side as the team who won the first leg, have always gone on to win the trophy since the AFF tournament final became a two-leg affair in 2004-05.

The omens are looking good for Malaysia.

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