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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our boys take cup in enemy land - score 4-2


Indonesia’s Hamka Hamsah (C) fights for the ball with Malaysia’s Safee Sali and Norshahrul Idlan during the match in Jakarta tonight, December 29, 2010. – Reuters pic
JAKARTA, Dec 29 – Malaysia won the AFF-Suzuki Cup tonight on a 4-2 aggregate in front of a partisan crowd here, in what is being touted as the first sign of a revival of the national football team's fortunes.

Indonesia won the second leg of the final 2-1 here tonight. But it was not enough to overturn Malaysia's 3-0 lead from the first leg.

The scorers for Indonesia were Ridwan (87th minute) and Mohammad Nasuha (71st minute).

Safee Sali had scored in the 52nd minute to put Malaysia 1-0 in the lead.

Right from the start Malaysia had to withstand wave after wave of Indonesian forays into its half.

But a well-marshalled defensive line ensured the Indonesians were reduced to taking long-range shots despite an expectant crowd willing them on.

A crucial moment came in the first half when Indonesia was awarded a penalty but Malaysia survived unscathed after a poor effort.

Malaysian fans celebrate in Shah Alam tonight. – Bernama pic
The second half started the same way the first half ended with Indonesia laying siege in Malaysian territory.

But in a rare break, Safee Sali raced into the Indonesian penalty box and thundered a left foot shot past the goalkeeper to silence the fans in red and send the 3,000 Malaysian fans in the stadium into a frenzy.

The goal effectively won the cup for Malaysia.

Two late goals from the Indonesians restored some measure of pride for the home team, but by then all was already lost for them.

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