| KUALA LUMPUR (18 July 2009) – The Malaysian XI almost caught Manchester United flat-footed in their very first game of their Asia Tour 2009 until a late strike from new signing Michael Owen sealed a late 3-2 win at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The score at the end of the first half was 2-1 with Wayne Rooney scoring the first goal in the eighth minute and then Nani in the 27th minute before Amri Yahyah’s first goal in the 45th minute.
“It was a very open match – with the right speed and energy. Malaysia relied a lot on their quick counter-attacks and with speedy players, you know what they are capable of,” said Manchester United manager Sir Alex Fergusion.
“It was good for Malaysia to score their first goal just before the first half and then their second just into the second. It changed the rhythm of the game.
“But it is still a friendly and I am more concerned when the first game of the season starts.
“As for Owen, it was a typical Owen goal. He is a big name player and I think that it was right to give him the No. 7 shirt which was worn by great players of the past (Bobby Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo).”
In front of 85,000 spectators, Manchester United grabbed the lead in the eighth minute when Rooney finished off a rebound from Dimitar Berbatov before grabbing their second of the game in the 27th minute from Nani’s easy tap in.
Mohd Amri Yahyah then struck the first goal for the homesters in the 45th minute off a wicked chip from some 25metres to beat Edwin Van Der Sar as he then nailed his second of the game after capitalising on a defensive error to round substitute keeper Ben Foster.
The score up to that point was 2-2.
With five minutes left on the clock, Owen slots home from a tight angle after picking up the rebound from Darron Gibson for the final scoreline.
“The gamble to put in young players paid off,” said K. Rajagobal, the head coach for Malaysia.
“It was not easy to catch Edwin Van Der Sar off his mark and Amri proved his experience. His last international was more than three years ago and he has justified his position in the squad.
“I hope that the Malaysian fans will give the team more time to develop. It is a long road which will take years to achieve.”
Following the cancellation of the second match in Jakarta, the Malaysian XI will play a second game against Manchester United on 20 July 2009 at the same venue.
Kick-off will be at 8.45pm (Local time).
Tickets for the second match have been priced at RM58 (terrace) and RM308 (grandstand).