Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Malaysia get footballing lesson in SEA Games

Vietnam's Nguyen Van Toan celebrates after scoring the fifth goal in the Group B match against Malaysia at the SEA Games on Tuesday. Vietnam won 5-1. - S.S.KANESAN/ The STAR Vietnam's Nguyen Van Toan celebrates after scoring the fifth goal in the Group B match against Malaysia at the SEA Games on Tuesday. Vietnam won 5-1. - S.S.KANESAN/ The STAR 

SINGAPORE: As the saying goes: “How low can you go?”

Apparently Malaysian football is near rock bottom at the moment.

The national Under-23 side were given a lesson by Vietnam, losing 5-1 in a Group B match at the Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night – their second biggest defeat in SEA Games history.

Malaysia’s worst loss? A 6-0 hammering by Indonesia in the 1999 Brunei Games.
It was a nightmare for Malaysia, especially the defence which was in sixes and sevens.

Vietnam’s goals were scored by Mac Hong Quan (12th penalty), Nguyen Cong Phuong (45th, 53rd), Vo Huy Toan (47th penalty) and Nguyen Van Toan (79th). Substitue Mohd Syahrul Azwari scored the consolation goal for Malaysia in the 78th minute.

This is Vietnam’s second straight big win, having hammered Brunei 6-0 last Friday, and makes them the overwhelming favourites for a place in the sem-finals.

Coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s men are now staring at the possibility of an early exit – and failing to advance to the semi-finals for the first time in eight years.

Malaysia, who struggled to beat Timor Leste 1-0 in their opening game last Saturday, are now left with an uphill task – including having to beat favourites and defending champions Thailand on Thursday. Brunei and Laos are the other two teams in Group B.
And Kim Swee admitted, his back is against the wall.

"It's disappointing to lose this way but we should not dwell on it too much," said Kim Swee in the post match press conference.

"We have to look forward and now need to beat Thailand in our next match to qualify for the semi-finals.

"It will be the last throw of the dice, a loss or a draw and we are out of the competition. "
The Malaysians had Saiful Ridzuan Selamat starting in place of the suspended Mohd Nazmi Faiz Mansor in midfield.

However, the pairing of Gary Steven Robbat, Saiful and Mohd Amirul Hisyam Awang Kecik failed to shield the Malaysian backline, which was overrun by the industrious Vietnamese side.

Vietnam went ahead in the 12th minute when Hong Quan converted from the spot after defender Adam Nor Azlin brought down Huy Toan in the box.

Stunned, Malaysia began to press for the equaliser and it left them exposed to Vietnam’s quick counter attacks.

And the fleet-footed Vietnamese capitalised on a classic counter attack to extend their lead when Cong Phuong slipped past the Malaysian defence to rifle home from inside the box in the 45th minute.

Barely two minutes after the restart, Vietnam struck for a third time – again from the spot kick.
This time, goalkeeper Mohd Farhan Abu Bakar was the villain after he brought down the onrushing Hong Quan in the box in the 47th minute. Huy Toan converted.

Five minutes later, there was more misery for Malaysia when Hong Quan’s curling freekick sailed into the top corner – beating the outstretched arms of goalkeeper.

Syahrul, who came on for Saiful in the second half, reduced the deficit with a strike inside the box in the 78th minute.

It took Vietnam just one minute to restore their four-goal advantage through substitute Van Toan’s perfectly lobbed goal.

By K. Rajan
The Star


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