KUALA LUMPUR (2 Dec 2012) – Two quick strikes, from Azammuddin Mohd Akil and Mahali Jasuli, secured defending champions Malaysia a place in the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 at the National Stadium last night. But for Indonesia, a three-minute blitz put an end to their hopes of making the last four.
Azzammuddin and Mahali scored in the 26th and 29th minutes to hand Malaysia a 2-0 win which was enough to see them finish second in the standings after Singapore who defeated Laos 4-3 in a thriller in another Group B match played simultaneously at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Both teams have six points each but the Lions top the group on better goal difference.
In the first leg semifinals, Malaysia will face Group A champs Thailand here on 9 December while the Philippines take on Group B winners Singapore in Manila on 8 December. The second leg semifinals are scheduled for 12 December (Singapore) and 13 December (Bangkok).
Indonesia actually had a sensational start and could have quite easily scored, but their strikers were unable to get their shots in. Malaysia slowly but surely got their act together and in the 27th minute, Azammuddin nodded the hosts ahead.
Before Indonesia could recover, defender Mahali crashed in a second. Despite their best efforts, Indonesia never could not find their way back into game and had to settle for finishing third in the group.
Indonesia exploded from the whistle and launched into attack in the heavy rain. Despite starting without regular stikers Bambang Pamungkas and AndikVermansah, Indonesia were dangerous and had several close calls.
Samsul Arif,Taufiq and Irfan Bachdim were lurking around the box but were unable to nail the opener.
Irfan had the best chance in the 18th minute but his low shot was palmed away by Mohd Fr arizal Marijas. By the 20th minute, the rain began to ease which was about the time the Malaysians started to shift into attack mode.
In the 27th minute, Mahali crossed from the right which Safee went up to connect the shot but missed. Azammuddin followed up and headed the team ahead to the delight of the 60,000 fans.
Three minutes later. it was Mahali’s turn to celebrate. After being set-up by Wan Zack, Mahali raced in and rammed in Malaysia’s second goal.
Indonesia came on strong after the break with Andik causing much of the problems for Malaysia. He was all over the Malaysian goal but was simply unable to get his shots through.
Pictures by Stanley Chou (World Sport Group)