Friday, November 18, 2011

Super-sub Syahrul breaks Indonesian hearts with the winning goal

JAKARTA: Super-sub Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim silenced the “Senayan Roar” when his solitary strike helped Malaysia edge hosts Indonesia 1-0 in a Group A match of the men’s Under-23 football competition at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan last night.

The win ensured Malaysia top Group A and will face Group B runners-up Myanmar in tomorrow’s semi-final while hosts Indonesia take on Vietnam, the Group B winners.

Last night’s match was packed with drama, including a red card for Malaysian coach Ong Kim Swee for arguing with assistant referee Kim Sung-il of South Korea in the 69th minute.

Off you go: Referee Fahad Alkassar of the United Arab Emirates (right) giving Malaysian coach Ong Kim Swee (in blue) the marching orders during last night’s final Group A match against Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan.
But it was Syahrul’s strike in the 17th minute, which made the difference. The 18-year-old striker ran into space to latch on to Mohd Nazmi Faiz’s through ball to squeeze in a low shot past Indo­nesia goalkeeper Andritany Ardhi­yasa.

Last night, the script for Indone­sia and their blood-thirsty fans was to see Malaysia lose by a four-goal margin.

That would see defending champions Malaysia missing out on the semi-finals. Singapore, who had beaten Thailand 2-0 in an earlier match, would then pip Malaysia on better goal difference to make the last four.
But it was not to be as Malaysia dominated proceedings right from the whistle despite the vociferous 100,000 fans inside the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

The fans were mean and hostile and did every trick in the book to shake up our boys. They even showed disrespect during the playing of the national anthem and kept on chanting “balik, balik” (go back).

High flier: Malaysia’s Izzaq Faris Ramlan is tackled by Indonesia’s Seftia Hadi last night. Malaysia won 1-0.
But the Malaysians stood firm and showed no nerves. And they were rewarded when Syahrul, who came in for Wan Zaharul­nizam Wan Zakaria, scored.

The Indonesians were shaken and their game crumbled as Malaysia piled on the pressure and could have wrapped up the game with a couple more goals in the first half.

Mohd Asraruddin Putra Omar came close with his header coming off the woodwork and Izzaq Faris Ramlan missed a sitter in front of goal in the 35th minute.

The hosts were totally out of the game and barely threatened the Malaysian defenders, who were in their elements.

Mohd Muslim Ahmad, Mohd Fadhli Shas (centrebacks), Mahalli Jasuli (rightback) and Mohd Asraruddin Putra Omar (leftback) shut off the Indonesian raids.

Indonesia showed more urgency after the break with striker Titus Bonai missing two sitters in the opening five minutes but the Malaysians regained their confidence and composure to pull off a fine win against one of their arch-rivals and potential final opponents.

Malaysia: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Mahalli Jasuli, Mohd Fadhli Shas, Mohd Asraruddin Putra Omar, Mohd Irfan Fazail (K. Gurusamy), Baddrol Bakhtiar, Izzaq Faris Ramlan, Mohd Fandi Othman, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria (Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim), Mohd Nazmi Faiz (Ahmad Fakroi saarani), Mohd Muslim Ahmad
Indonesia: Andritany Ardhiyasa, Seftia Hadi (Diego Michiels), Christiantoko Yericho, Mahardiga Lasut (Egi Melgiansyah), Yongky Ariwibowo, Ramdani Ardhiyasa, Gunawan Dwi Cahyo, Lucas Mandowen (Okto Maniani), Ferdinan Sinaga, Titus Bonai, Hendro Siswanto.


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