Thursday, November 10, 2011


Thailand v Malaysia 1-2

2007 seems a long time ago. That was the last time Thailand won the SEA Games, a competition they had come to view as one they were entitled to win. After all, 2007 was their 8th consecutive triumph, a run dating back to 1993.

No more. They were humiliated in 2009, failing to get past the group stage for the first time in yonks conceding late goals in a draw against Vietnam and, crucially, the deciding game against Malaysia when the eventual winners scored in injury time.

Thailand's pre-eminence in the regional game is on the wane and people looking for a change in fortunes from the class of '11 will be looking in vane.

Against the holders, Malaysia, in their opening group game the Thais looked disjointed. They had plenty of possession but without really threatening the Malaysians, it was foreplay and no penetration.

Malaysia looked dangerous on the counter. Time and again they were able to get behind the Thai defence and the only surprise was that the final result was so tight. It could have been much worse for the Thais.

With the 85' winner you would expect a team to close the game. Aim for the corner flag, sit down and have a cup of tea. That's what the Malaysian coach was frantically indicating from the sidelines. But these Malays love attacking and had chances of increasing the score, piling further misery on a poor Thai side.

Malaysia have a winning habit. The SEA Games in 2009 followed by the ASEAN Championships a year later. With this victory, and performance, they laid down a marker for regaining their title.

Images on Asian Football Pictures

Congratulations, Malaysia. With that winning habit could make very big things!
Still long journey,...
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