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NST Online: Sports


Football / AFF Suzuki Cup: Magnificent Malaysia

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:52 PM PST

2010/12/19
From Devinder Singh
devinder@nst.com.my


Malaysia’s Safee Sali tries to go past a Vietnam player in their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final second leg at the My Dinh Stadium yesterday. The teams drew 0-0. — Picture by Khairul Ghazali

Malaysia's Safee Sali tries to go past a Vietnam player in their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final second leg at the My Dinh Stadium yesterday. The teams drew 0-0. — Picture by Khairul Ghazali

HANOI: It was not vintage football but it got the job done as Malaysia reached the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in 14 years after holding Vietnam 0-0 in the semi-final second leg at the My Dinh Stadium for a 2-0 aggregate success.

Coach K. Rajagobal did not quite have a defensive posture in mind when he named his side for the second leg, but defend Malaysia did, stoutly and splendidly.

"We fought till the last drop of sweat and I have to salute the players," said Rajagobal after the game. "This success is for the players and the country.


"We defended well and kept our shape and I have to give credit to the players, rather than Vietnam who could not score against us on their home ground.

"The centre-backs were superb and the entire back four and Safiq Rahim kept their discipline. It was hard work and the result was well deserved."

Malaysia were pinned back for most of the first half, inviting pressure on themselves as the home team, featuring five changes from Wednesday, came at them in droves.


But for all of Vietnam's possession, goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat was only called into action sparingly as centre-backs Muslim Ahmad and Fadhli Shas repelled waves of Vietnamese attacks.

Substitute Le Tan Tai had a volley on the turn saved a minute after coming on for injured midfielder Phan Van Tai Em while winger Pham Thanh Luong's angled header was dealt comfortably in the opening 20 minutes.

Fadhli deflected a shot over the bar which had Khairul Fahmi furiously back-pedalling in the 27th minute before Amirulhadi Zainal spurned a glorious chance to score for Malaysia four minutes later when he sliced his shot after being played in by Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.


Minutes after Khairul Fahmi denied Vietnam skipper Nguyen Minh Phuong's well struck free-kick after the break, Malaysia should have scored on the counter but Amirulhadi's final pass was short and the chance went begging.

Vietnam, too, should have been one up in the 62nd minute but striker Nguyen Viet Thang's point-blank header was straight at Khairul Fahmi.

But a double booking for Thanh Luong, first for simulation and then for dissent in the 72nd minute, eased Malaysia's burden although Vietnam kept plugging away with 10 men but to no avail.

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Hockey: Victorious start for YNS

Posted: 18 Dec 2010 03:49 PM PST

2010/12/19
By Ajitpal Singh
ajitpalsingh@nst.com.my


Yayasan Negri Sembilan’s (YNS) Muhammad Waqas Sharif (left) tries to get past Maybank’s Mohamad Syafiq Mohamed Zain in their Malaysia Hockey League match at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. YNS won 4-1. — Picture by Osman Adnan

Yayasan Negri Sembilan's (YNS) Muhammad Waqas Sharif (left) tries to get past Maybank's Mohamad Syafiq Mohamed Zain in their Malaysia Hockey League match at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. YNS won 4-1. — Picture by Osman Adnan

YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) made a winning start upon their return to the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) by defeating Maybank 4-1 in a Premier Division match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.

YNS, who last played in the MHL in 1995 with 11 foreign players, including six from Pakistan, were in impeccable form despite lack of training among team members prior to the match.

Most of their foreign signings only reported to the club on Friday but it did not stop YNS from notching an impressive win over the Maybank side.


Muhammad Imran, a forward from Pakistan, scored a brace for YNS in the 16th and 44th minutes while Prabjot Singh (49th) and Muhd Waqas Sharif (68th) added the other goals.

Maybank replied through Mohamad Syafiq Mohamed Zain in the 30th minute.

Shakeel Abbasi, who arrived in KL on Friday, was YNS' best player with his creative display and the Pakistan international was duly rewarded with the Man-of-the-Match award in his very first match in the league.


"Although, we lacked practice, we knew we could win as we have a stable side. I played in midfield despite being a forward but I was comfortable with my new role with the club," said Shakeel, who helped Pakistan win the Asian Games gold medal in Guangzhou at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.

"I believe my team have a good mix of experienced players to make an impact in this league. Our target is to finish in the top three bracket. I believe we can win it here."

In an earlier match, former champions Sapura overcame a slow start in the first half to demolish ATM-Airod 7-2 in their opening match.


Jiwa Mohan scored a brace for Sapura in the ninth and 49th minutes. Other goals were from former national captain S. Kuhan (42nd), Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin (53rd), Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin (60th), Muhd Noor Khairul Adnan (67th) and Mohd Rodzhanizam Mat Radzi (68th).

ATM replied through Mohd Shahrul Amran (35th) and Mohd Shafiq Yaacob (54th).

Sapura coach I. Vikneswaran said victory for his team in the first match is a good sign for their campaign.

"Historically, Sapura are slow-starters. We rarely win our first match of the season in previous editions. And so earning three points today (yesterday) is a bonus," said Vikneswaran.

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