Wednesday, December 8, 2010

malaysia's high five

 Two goals from Amri Yahyah sent Malaysia on their way to a 5-1 win over Laos in their final Group A clash on Tuesday evening, with the victory securing K. Rajagopal's team a place in the semi-finals of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.

The win marked a dramatic turnaround for a Malaysian team that lost their opening game of the tournament against group hosts Indonesia before drawing with Thailand three days later.

Victory over Laos coupled with Thailand's loss at the hands of Indonesia in Jakarta means Malaysia's total of four points is enough to take them into the last four, where they will meet the winners of Group B.

The action came thick and fast in the opening exchanges, with Malaysia taking the lead with just four minutes on the clock when Nohshahrul Idlan carved open the Laos defence before clipping the ball into the centre and Amri 'sdiving header found the back of the net.

Just four minutes later, though, the Laotians were back on level terms as Lamnao Singto was given time and space in the middle by the Malaysian defence to head home from eight yards out.

As the game settle down after such a blistering start, it was Laos who looked the more likely to add to the scoreline with Konekham Inthammavong and Lamnao both going close.

Malaysia, however, pulled themselves back into the game and, five minutes before the end of the half, Amri pushed his side into the lead as Safiq Rahman turned the Laos defence before slipping the ball through to the Selangor midfielder, who made no mistake from close range.

Laos refused to be outdone as the game recommenced after halftime and, seven minutes into the second half Khampheng Sayavutthi tried his luck from close to 35 yards from goal, only to see his right-foot drive drift just off target.

With the weather taking a turn for the worse and rain pouring down, Malaysia put more daylight between themselves and David Booth's team with just 17 minutes to go.

As the Laotians tired, Amirulhadi Zainal charged down Kitsada Thongkhen's attempt to clear the ball before racing in on goal and slotting his effort home.

Four minutes later Malaysia made it 4-1 with a virtual carbon copy of their third, only this time it was Norshahrul who capitalized on Kitsada's mistake to score a goal his overall performance deserved.

Deep in injury time the Malaysians claimed a fifth when the ball somehow looped into the top corner off the boot of Kitsada, completing a stellar day for the SEA Games gold medal winners.