Thursday, November 27, 2014

Last-minute heartbreak


NATIONAL coach Dollah Salleh blamed his team’’s lapses of concentration after throwing away the lead twice in the 3-2 defeat to Thailand in a rain-delayed AFF Cup Group B match at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.

Substitute Adisak Kraisorn broke the hearts of Malaysia by netting his second goal of the night in the final minute after scoring with his first touch two minutes before half time. Charyl Chappuis scored the other for Thailand in the 73rd minute.

Amri Yahyah (28th) and Safiq Rahim (60th) replied for Malaysia.
““The game plan worked but unfortunately we let in late goals in each half to concede defeat. We did not concentrate enough when it mattered,” said a disappointed Dollah.

“However, I am pleased with the way my players’ performed but unfortunately the result did not favour us. It is heartbreaking to lose a match in the final minute but I believe my players will overcome it.”

However, Dollah is still optimistic his team will beat Singapore, who beat Myanmar 4-2 yesterday. “I hope playing Singapore will give us extra motivation as we need three points from this match.”
Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang described yesterday’’s win as more difficult than the three points collected against Singapore on Sunday.

Khairul Fahmi Che Mat started in goal with the defensive back four comprising Afif Amiruddin, Fadhli Shas, Mahali Jasuli and Zubir Azmi.
The midfield included captain Shukor Adan and Safiq with S. Kunanlan and Amri on the flanks while Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Safee played in attack.

Malaysia’s exciting moment arrived six minutes later when Amri scored his fourth international goal after directing his grounder past goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan. The 33-year-old ran half-length of the pitch to the touchline to hug Dollah after finishing off Safiq’’s brilliant pass.

But Thailand refused to give up as the three-time champions continued to press for the equaliser and their persistence paid off in the 42nd minute when substitute Adisak scored with his first touch after coming on for Kirati Keawsombut two minutes earlier.

The goal could have been avoided had right-back Mahali Jasuli defended stoutly by stopping Charyl from sending a precise low cross to Adisak.

In the 45th minute, Amri almost scored from inside his own half with a looping attempt catching goalkeeper Kawin, who was well off his goal line but the ball struck the crossbar.

With many tired legs on the pitch, Malaysia did not look like scoring but Dollah’’s side again went ahead through Safiq’’s solo effort in the 60th minute. The 27-year-old ghosted into Thailand’’s box with ease and side-stepped a Thailand defender before directing the ball low into the bottom corner, leaving keeper Kawin rooted to the ground.

However, poor defending led to Thailand’’s equaliser through Charyl in the 73rd minute. The Swiss-born collected a loose ball inside the box before directing his powerful shot past keeper Khairul Fahmi. Then, Adisak took advantage of poor defending to volley home from closing range in the final minute.



By AJITPAL SINGH  - NST

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