Malaysia fired two goals past Singapore in each half to claim their second straight victory in the AFF Under-19 Championship at the National Sports Complex Stadium tonight. The Malaysians picked up their first win against Timor Leste two days ago and followed with another smashing win today.
Muhammad Jafri Muhammad Firdaus Chew bagged two goals (15th, 22nd) while Muhammad Nazirul Afif Ibrahim (64th) and Muhammad Danial Ashraf Abdullah (88th) scored one each to walk away with a memorable 4-0 win. Malaysian goalkeeper, Muhammad Hazrull Hafiz Zulkifly may have just changed the way the game turned out today when he saved a crucial penalty from Andin Addie when the Malaysians were two-goals up.
Malaysia now top Group B with six points while Vietnam and Myanmar are second with three points each. Vietnam played their first game of the tournament today when they beat Timor Leste 2-1.
For Singapore, tonight’s loss was their second after earlier going down to Myanmar. The Malaysians have two tough hurdles in Vietnam and Myanmar to overcome if they hope to make the last four.
Malaysian coach Hassan Zazali Mohd Waras was pleased after the game and credited his players and coaching staff for their hard work. “The first game against Timor Leste was our first international competition match and it was tough. Today, they played very well, I certainly did not expect this scoreline.”
“There are no ifs in football, but if that penalty went in, it may have changed things,” said Singapore coach Inoue Takuya on his team’s missed penalty. “We had a good start in the first 15 minutes. In fact, we played better than expected in the first half but then we conceded those two goals. Today, the Malaysians played well.”
Malaysia had a few clear attempts and made good two of them to snatch a comfortable lead going into the break. The first came in the 15th minute when Muhammad Jafri charged in to score the opening goal of the game. Seven minutes later, Firdaus was celebrating again when his freekick breached the Singapore wall and slammed into the right lower corner.
Prior to that, Muhammad Shahirul Akmal failed to connect a precise pass to him from Firdaus. But they team soon put that behind them when Firdaus broke the deadlock.
As Malaysia were in control for most of the match, Singapore had to wait for counter-attacks to try and get the goals.
In the 64th minute, Muhammad Hazirul dashed down the right, squeezed past the defenders and whacked his shot past the keeper. With the game almost over, in a quick counter-attack, Muhammad Danial ran down the centre and while everyone expected him to pass to his teammates on the left or right, he saw his chance and took a crack which sailed right into goal.
Timor Leste 0 Vietnam 2
Malaysia 4 Singapore 0
Aug 26 (Group A)
4.00pm: Laos vs Brunei
7.00pm: Thailand vs Philippines
Aug 27 (Group B)
4.00pm: Vietnam vs Malaysia
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Timor Leste
Aug 28 (Group A)
4.00pm: Philippines vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Brunei vs Thailand
Aug 29 (Group B)
4.00pm: Malaysia vs Myanmar
7.00pm: Singapore vs Vietnam
Aug 30 (Group A)
4.00pm: Thailand vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Laos vs Philippines
Aug 31 (Group B)
4.00pm: Timor Leste vs Singapore
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Vietnam
Note: For full fixtures and details, please go to www.aseanfootball.org