24 Januari 2019



 NEWS 16/09/2001
Thai retain gold, thanks to fumbling M'sian goalie

Thai retain gold, thanks to fumbling M'sian goalie

KUALA LUMPUR Sept 15 - A bizarre blunder by Malaysian goalkeeper Kamarulzaman Hassan gave defending champions Thailand a 1-0 win in the SEA Games men's football final at the Shah Alam Stadium, near here, tonight.

Thai midfielder Sarawut Treephan scored the winner in the 87th minute to break the hearts of 80,000 Malaysian spectators at the stadium and millions more who watched the match live on television.

Just when the match seemed headed for extra-time, Sarawut broke loose on the right and made a harmless looking low-cross from near the byline.

Although there were no Thai players near him, Kamarulzaman tried to make a clearance but miskicked and instead guided the ball into his own net.

The Malaysian players and spectators were stunned in disbelief while Thai players jumped for joy and the small band of Thai supporters roared in delight.

Until then, the match had been a nail-biting affair.

Malaysia tried to find the equaliser but it was too late for them to end the Malaysian gold drought in men's football. Malaysia last won the gold medal in 1989 while Thailand have won it for the 10th time now.

The Thais were champions in 1965, 1975, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999.

Many spectators openly displayed their frustration over that costly mistake and several objects were seen flying into the field.

It was Malaysia who created better goal-scoring opportunities in the second half with the midfield manned by Nor Hafiz Zamani Misbah, Juzaili Samion and Indra Putra Mahyuddin spraying shots to the strikers.

A minute into the second half Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli's attempt off a freekick flashed just inches wide off the post.

Three minutes later Malaysia were awarded another freekick. Striker Mohd Nizaruddin Yusof let fly a powerful shot which Thai goalkeeper Umarin Yaodam failed to hold clean. Mohammad Juzaili Samion followed up but shot wide from close range.

In the 72nd minute, from another freekick, Irwan Fadzli Idrus curled the ball past Thailand's wall but Umarin was equal to the task when he rose high to tip the ball over the bar.

Thailand only managed to make occasional attempts at the Malaysian goal.

Both teams started cautiously but Thailand looked more menacing with their dangerous moves in an evenly contested first half.

It was Malaysia who took the first look at goal but Mohd Nizaruddin failed to connect the ball properly inside the penalty area following a cross from Irwan Fadzli.

Then Thailand had a good spell when striker Narongchai Vachiraban, playing in place of an injured Teeratep Winothai, made two attempts in the 18th and 23rd minutes but his shots went high.

In the 26th minute, his low drive from 15 metres out was on target but the alert Malaysian keeper easily caught the ball.

Thailand had a golden opportunity in the 27th minute. Off a corner kick taken by Anucha Kitpongsri, Phichitpong Choeichiu rose high at the far post but his powerful header was well saved by Kamarulzaman.

The ball squirmed free to Thai dangerman Manit Noyvach who fired a shot towards goal but it was blocked by Mohd Nizam.

Thailand, who looked dangerous each time they surged forward, created their best opportunity of the first half with a blistering shot from Dussagon Tonglao from 20 metres out. Kamarulzaman dived but failed to get the ball, but to his relief the ball hit his body and spun over the crossbar.

After surviving the onslaught, Malaysia came close to scoring a minute before the break through a fast counter-attack.

A good clearance by the Malaysian defence following Thailand's corner kick found Akmal Rizal at the centre of the field. The striker wove past his marker and relayed the ball to Mohd Nizaruddin who instead of chipping it over the Thai goalkeeper tried to pass back to Akmal Rizal. It was easily intercepted by the Thai defence.

Before the match, the players, officials and spectators observed a minute's silence as a mark of respect for the late Kpl Azmar Abu, who died in a fall on Sept 10 while conducting security checks at the Games' fencing venue, and for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States' World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

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