Harimau Malaya beat Pakistan 2 – 0 in the London 2012 Olympic Soccer qualifying preliminary round, leg #1, in Shah Alam tonight. I was expecting my post title to be “Harimau Malaya mauls Pakistan” but somehow that did not really happen. Both Malaysian goals were scored during the first half of the game.
Despite playing against a 10-men Pakistan on the second half, the Malaysian forwards failed to take advantage of the situation and miserably missed many opportunities to flood Pakistan’s net. Their coach decision to replace their goalkeeper was a right choice as the second goalie did well to stop the ball from giving a much bigger win to the Malaysian.
The Malaysian Olympic team, compared to the AFF Suzuki Cup team, has a stronger midfield line where they managed to control the game most of the time. However, the strikers did not show enough communication and coordination among them to provide the desired finishing touch to match the midfielder. If this can be corrected on the second leg in Lahore, Malaysia can definitely move further in this qualifying rounds. On the defense, the lineup was not really tested and Khairul Fahmi was only really beaten by a kick to the groin by one of the Pakistani players, who was rewarded with a red card…
In my opinion, we still need strikers with the instinct of Safee Sali who knows how to make full use of the situations within or near the penalty box. If you watched the game, you would see that there were quite a few chances that could have been converted to goals. But then, watching and doing are two different things. Easier said than done.
Anyway, congratulations to the Malaysian team for winning this leg and hopefully, they would be able to win the second leg in Lahore. Leading by 2 goals is not considered a comfortable cushion but it is surely great for boosting the morale of the young players. Keep it up guys!
May Harimau Malaya make it to London Olympic 2012.