By Les Tan/Red Sports
Video copyright of World Sport Group
Kuala Lumpur, Sunday, December 26, 2010 — Malaysia beat favourites Indonesia 3-0 with a three-goal blitz in 12 minutes in the first leg of the ASEAN Football Championship (AFF Suzuki Cup) final. However, the game was shrouded in controversy as laser pointers aimed at the Indonesia players forced the referee to stop the game for six minutes in the second half.
When play resumed, two goals by Safee Sali and one by Ashari Samsuddin in 12 quick minutes gave the home team a huge advantage going into the second leg final scheduled for Wednesday, December 29th in Jakarta. Malaysia had lost 5-1 to Indonesia in their opening group game.
“I told the boys to start off very aggressively because we wanted to get a result tonight against Indonesia,” said Malaysian head coach K. Rajagobal on the affsuzukicup.com website. “We knew we were playing at home and I told them to be more offensive. We started very well but the players were probably too eager in front of goal and their execution in the final third was a bit sloppy.”
Malaysian Norshahrul Idlan stood out for setting up his side’s first two goals.
Said Rajagobal: “Norshahrul is a special player. For me, I think that he is the best striker playing in this tournament although every coach has his opinion.”
For Indonesia head coach Alfred Riedl, defensive laxity was the root cause of their loss.
Said Riedl: “Our defence has played well during the tournament but today, they were nowhere. They were too far away from their opponents when they had possession and that made it harder because Malaysia’s two strikers, Norshahrul Idlan and Safee Sali are dangerous players who have good technique.”
Malaysia had qualified for the final after beating Vietnam 2-0 in a two-legged semi-final. Malaysia won their home leg 2-0 and then held Vietnam to a 0-0 draw in Hanoi.
Indonesia saw off surprise qualifiers Philippines by the same scoreline in another semi-final. They beat the Philippines 1-0 in each of the two legs played in Jakarta because the Filipinos had no home stadium of an acceptable standard to the organisers.
Singapore crashed out of the tournament in the group stages. They drew 1-1 with Philippines, beat Myanmar 2-1 and lost 0-1 to Vietnam.