Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Malaysia 2 Singapore 0

Malaysian Olympic team defeated their Singapore counterparts 2-0 in a friendly match at Jalan Besar Stadium, Monday.

After a SEA Games triumph in 2009 was followed by success at the ASEAN championship last month, Malaysian football has been on a high and the Olympic team has also been bristling with confidence. Seven players from their Suzuki Cup-winning squad are in the Olympic team.

However, Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic was not downcast at all after the game.

He may be under pressure after the senior side's shock first-round exit at the Suzuki Cup last month but the Serb felt the Olympic team did well enough.

"I don't think this has got anything to do with what happened before, this was a build-up for the Olympic team and that's that," he said, insisting the pressure on him would not increase because of the latest reverse.

"For our first competitive game, I know we can do better but I'm satisfied. To tell the truth I expected more from Malaysia and I don't think there exists any gap in quality between us and Malaysia, only they've got more time to prepare the team.

"We had two '100 per cent' chances to score, and we didn't ... but we really shouldn't have lost," he claimed.

Haniff Sadique and Eugene Luo fluffed two gilt-edge chances to score early on before Malaysia asserted themselves in front of around 1,600 fans.

The impressive Irfan Fazail scored for the visitors in the 23rd minute, eluding the attentions of Afiq Yunos at the top of the Singapore box and then clipping a left-foot shot into the far corner of the Singapore goal.

The central midfielder was involved in just about every good Malaysian attack and he started the move that Syahrul Azwari eventually converted at the stroke of half-time to make it 2-0.

Avramovic said the team would benefit after the 10-minute run out given to Hariss Harun at the tail-end of the game and he was pleased with the contributions of 19-year-old substitutes Safirul Sulaiman and Ignatius Ang.

The lack of a finishing touch and confidence would be the biggest hurdles for his team as they prepare for their Feb 23 Olympic qualifier away to Yemen.

"We are missing that one central attacker who can individually make a difference but all the players must start to believe in themselves. I hope in the next two days, we will be able to show better cooperation and understanding," said the coach, whose team will play Hougang United on Jan 28 before the final squad will be named.

"The boys deserve to have people coming to support them," said Avramovic.

"They have proven themselves with the SEA Games bronze (in 2009) and in the S-League last year ... and we will look to go to Yemen with this team to do well and maybe win."

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