Wednesday, 25 July 2012

SEA Games Malaysia Wins

JAKARTA: Malaysia defended their Southeast Asian Games football title Monday with a nerve-shredding 4-3 win on penalties after their hotly anticipated final with hosts Indonesia ended 1-1 following extra time.

The Malaysia captain Baddrol Bakhtiar calmly stroked in the winning penalty, after Indonesia missed two of their spot kicks, prompting jubilation among the visiting team and heartbreak for the 90,000 homes fans at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium.

In a game lacking quality but packed with incident, the hosts took a deserved lead after five minutes when centre-back Gunawan Dwi Cahyo popped up unmarked at the back post to head in a corner.

But Malaysia regrouped, despite the deafening roar of the home fans, to equalise in the 33rd minute with a diving header by Omar Muhammad Asraruddin after some suspect defending by the hosts.

The game see-sawed throughout the second-half, with Malaysia spurning two gilt-edged chances after sloppy defending from Indonesia's erratic back line, while the hosts had a goal disallowed.

Malaysia's defence - the Games' stingiest having conceded three goals in six matches - nullified the threat of Papuan forwards Titus Bonai and Patrich Wanggai who menaced but created little in the way of direct chances.

Indonesia, chasing their first Games football win for two decades, had a second goal ruled out in the first period of extra-time, to the disbelief of their passionate home support.

It was all Indonesia for the second period of extra-time as the Malaysians began to tire but dogged defending by the visitors took the game to penalties.

After two misses by Indonesia, Bakhtiar - the game's standout player - coolly slotted the ball into the corner of the net.

Despondent fans streamed out of the stadium, aware they have two years to wait before they will have another shot at winning the coveted football gold.

"I am very sad, we played so well to get to the final and to lose is too much," said 27-year-old Dhany outside the stadium.

"And it is worse because we lost to Malaysia."