Saturday, July 25, 2009


The Under 23 Tournament will showcase the final between Johor and hosts Malacca tomorrow (Sunday) and I expect Malacca to edge Johor. For the record the two teams drew 2-2 in their preliminary round match last Monday.

Why am I certain that Malacca will win? Simply because the match officials will lose their guts and blow Johor's chances away. The match between KL and Malacca was enough evidence to convince me.

On the other hand, despite losing 3-0 to Johor, the Project Side showed much promise and can be developed further if given the right exposure. Hence they should be fielded in the MHL later this year as well if I can give my two cents worth.

My story last night which I was unable to upload due to connection problems.

Johor will take on hosts Malacca in the final of the U23 Tournament this Sunday after they defeated their respective opponents in contrasting styles. Malacca edged KL 1-0 while Johor defeated the 2013 Project Side 3-0.

Both teams were cautious in the opening 15 minutes and failed to create any clear cut goal scoring chances.The Project Squad were awarded two penalty corners in quick succession in the 17th and 18th minutes but made no headway.

Johor took the lead a minute before halftime when Hang Edzharsyah Hang Tuah was left unmarked in the semicircle and had the simplest task of sending a reverse hit stick into goal.

Edzharsyah showed good individual skills in the 48th minute and won a penalty corner. Mohd Sybrie Shamsuddin duly sent in a low drag flick to put Johor 2-0 ahead.

The Project Team then started playing as a team to stretch the Johor defence but failed to find the elusive final touch that could have narrowed the deficit. Edzharsyah then made sure of Johor"s place in the final when he deflected in a cross in the 62nd minute.

In the other semi final, Malacca upstaged favourites Kuala Lumpur 1-0 through a 4th minute goal scored by skipper Nazmi Kamaruddin.

Though the city lads created numerous chances and were awarded seven penalty corners, they failed to capitalise on it and were also victims of dubious decisions by the umpires.

Though KL were more superior in every department, they were let down by poor finishing.