Monday, February 28, 2011


Medan Chiefs In Singapore Media

MEDAN - With umbrellas, hankerchiefs, motorcycle helmets, even picnic mats over their heads, about 3,000 Medan Chiefs faithful came out to back their team in the sweltering heat at the Baharoeddin Siregar Stadium yesterday.

Exposed to the elements, they soon turned a gigantic flag in the red-and-black of the Chiefs into a makeshift shelter, as Jorg Steinebrunner's players danced a slick tango on the lush turf en route to a 3-0 win over a Real Mataram side led by ex-Argentina international Jose Basualdo.

The win puts them sixth in the 19-team breakaway Indonesian Premier League with 11 points, and a game in hand over the teams ahead of them.

Singapore skipper Shahril Ishak and national team-mate Baihakki Khaizan only had three training sessions with the Chiefs, and started from the bench, but they sent the partisan crowd jumping despite the heat, when they took to the field in the second half.

Shahril came on in the 52nd minute, capitalising on his 40 minutes on the pitch, scoring with a crisp finish in the 68th minute when set free by Laakkad Abdelhadi.

He returned the favour in the 88th minute with a deft chip that set the Moroccan forward free to score.

Bryant Braad nodded home the opener off a Fred Pasaribu cross in the 18th minute.

"I'm very happy with the performance of the duo. Shahril and Baihakki have shown their class as footballers, and they've only been here for a couple of days, and the way they have adapted is truly professional," said a pleased Steinebrunner, whose 24-man team is a young side with only three players aged over 30.

"I was quite surprised when I first saw the football we were playing in training - I'm enjoying it here more than at any other place. This is the kind of football we've been wanting to play all the time," Baihakki told MediaCorp.

Added Shahril: "I'm just happy to play, score and see how happy that makes the fans."

The fans were happy indeed: a mini pitch invasion - of little boys - occurred after the final whistle, while the older lads, decked in red and waving their Medan flags, escorted the Chiefs' team bus out, on their fleet of motorcycles.


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