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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Malaysia In Football Final After 3-1 Win Over Laos (BERNAMA)



From Zulhilmi Supaat ', TEXTFONT, 'Verdana, Arial, Helvetica', TEXTSIZE, '1', WIDTH, 75)" onmouseout="nd()">VIENTIANE, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Malaysia have the chance to end their 20-year gold drought when their men's Under-23 squad play in the final of the SEA Games football competition after trouncing Laos 3-1 at the Main Stadium, National Sports Complex, here, Monday.

Malaysia will on Thursday play against Vietnam who thrashed Singapore 4-1 in another semi-final match at the Chaou Anouvong Stadium, near here.

Two of Malaysia's goals came from Baddrol Bakhtiar in the 13th and 79th minute, with Safiq Rahim scoring the third goal in the 84th minute.

Although the Main Stadium was filled by 23,000 home fans, K.Rajagobal's boys started confidently and made several dangerous moves to test their Laotian opponents.

The two teams did not meet at the group stage. Malaysia were runners-up in Group A while Laos topped Group B.

The last time Malaysia played in a SEA Games semi-final was in 2005 in the Philippines.

Baddrol's goal was the result of a cross from Abdul Manaf Mamat in front of the goal mouth and Baddrol did a scissor kick, sending the ball into the back of the net.

Feeling comfortable with that first goal, the Malaysians slowed down the pace.

Realising the fragility of the defence, Rajagopal took out Sabree Mat Abu to be replaced by Muhamad Azmi Muslim.

It was rather too late as Laos equalised in the 72nd minute with a strike from Kanlaya Sysomvang after he tricked Malaysia's defence.

However, seven minutes later, Baddrol was Malaysia's hero with a second goal.

In the tussle in front of the goal mouth, S.Kunalan's attempt hit the goal post before Baddrol swiftly followed up.

Safiq's goal, the third for Malaysia, came from a pass to him from Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

The last time Malaysia won gold in football at the Games was in Kuala Lumpur in 1989, under British coach Trevor Hartley.

Since then, Malaysia managed only a silver in the 2001 edition of the Games in Kuala Lumpur when the competition format was changed to allow only the Under-23 teams to compete, and then won a bronze in 2003 in Vietnam and in 2005 in the Philippines.

In the 2007 Games, Malaysia had an early exit at the group stage.

For the record, Malaysia last met Laos in the Jakarta SEA Games in 1997 where Laos beat Malaysia 1-0.

Malaysia began the challenge in Group A this time by thrashing Timor Leste 11-0, lost 1-3 to Vietnam, and won 4-0 against Cambodia before their shocking 3-1 win over Thailand, the defending champions in the last eight editions of the Games.

Laos, top in Group B, drew 1-1 with Myanmar, the runners-up at the Korat SEA Games in 2007, before defeating Indonesia 2-0 and drawing 0-0 against Singapore, the runners-up in Group B.

-- BERNAMA



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