Friday, October 24, 2008


Malaysia Meet Vietnam in Merdeka Final

Friday October 24, 2008
Football: Champs Malaysia set up title showdown against Vietnam
KUALA LUMPUR: Hosts Malaysia thrashed Myanmar 4-0 to storm into their second consecutive final of the Merdeka Tournament at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Hot shot Indra Putra Mahayuddin scored a brace €” opening the accounts in the 26th minute and getting another from the penalty spot in the 76th minute €” while Mohd Safee Sali (61st) and Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal (84th) chipped in with a goal each.
Malaysia, who defeated Myanmar 3-1 in last year’s final, will take on Vietnam in tomorrow’s final.
Vietnam had earlier edged Sierra Leone 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the game ended 2-2 in regulation and extra time.
Tight Squeeze: Malaysia's Mohd Amirulhadi trying to get past two Mynamar players during the semi-final match on Thursday. - Kamarlu Ariffin/TheStar.
Malaysia, under coach B. Sathia-nathan, are riding high €” marching into the final by wining all four matches, scoring the most number of goals (17) and conceding none.
Last night’s game, watched by a crowd of 10,000, got off to a scrappy start as Myanmar played defensively to frustrate the hosts.
The Malaysian frontline of Safee, Mohd Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak, Amirulhadi and Indra Putra offered little in attack and it was Myanmar who looked dangerous in their counter attacks.
That, however, did not last long as Indra Putra floated in the opening goal with a well-taken freekick past goalkeeper Nyi Nyi Lwin in the 26th minute.
Credit should also be given to the strong Malaysian backline of Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Irwan Fadli Idrus, Mohd Daudsu Jamaluddin and Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak for keeping the Myanmar forwards at bay.
Malaysia doubled their lead in the 61st minute when Safee went on a dazzling solo run to beat two defenders before slotting the ball past the hapless Myanmar goalkeeper.
Safee then won a penalty when he was brought down by Aye San in the 76th minute. Indra was spot on to make it 3-0.
Amirulhadi then sealed Myanmar’s fate with the final goal off a goalmouth melee in the 84th minute.

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