| VIENTIANE (12 Dec 2009) – Malaysian head coach K. Rajagobal could not hide his elation after watching his youngsters outgunned defending champions Thailand 2-1 in the final Group A match at the SEA Games last night.
The Malaysians, who were desperate to win the tie to advance into the semi-finals, delivered a surprise with two late goals to deny Thailand a place in the semi-finals for the first time since 1973.
“The better team won on the day and that team was Malaysia,” said Rajagobal.
“I am very happy for my players. They did not give up even when they were down. They showed that they have the guts to fight back even when the situations are against them.”
Following a first half deadlock, Thailand duly took the lead in the 56th minute off a superb free kick from Arthit Sunthornphit.
But the Malaysians staged a remarkable fight back to score the equaliser off Mohd Nashriq Baharom Kunanlan in the 80th minute before Ahmad Fakri Saarani scored the winner deep in injury time.
The win for the Malaysians had at least alleviated some of the pressure from the squad following the negative news they suffered in their 3-1 loss to Vietnam in the group game earlier.
Group A: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Cambodia
Group B: Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia
RESULTS AND FIXTURES
2 Dec (Main Stadium): MALAYSIA 11 TIMOR LESTE 0/ THAILAND 1 VIETNAM 1
4 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): THAILAND 4 CAMBODIA 0/ VIETNAM 4 TIMOR LESTE 0
5 Dec (Main Stadium): SINGAPORE 2 INDONESIA 2/ LAOS 1 MYANMAR 1
6 Dec (Main Stadium): VIETNAM 3 MALAYSIA 1/ TIMOR LESTE CAMBODIA
7 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): MYANMAR 1 SINGAPORE 2/ INDONESIA 0 LAOS 2
8 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): TIMOR LESTE 0 THAILAND 9/ CAMBODIA 0 MALAYSIA 4
10 Dec (Main Stadium): MYANMAR 3 INDONESIA 1/ LAOS 0 SINGAPORE 0
11 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): CAMBODIA 1 VIETNAM 6/ MALAYSIA 2 THAILAND 1
17 Dec: Third/Fourth Placing (1500hrs at Chao Anu Vong Stadium)/ FINAL (1700hrs at Main Stadium)
1. VIETNAM 10pts (+11)
2. MALAYSIA 9pts ( +14)
3. THAILAND 7pts (+12)
4. CAMBODIA 3pts (-10)
5. TIMOR LESTE 0pt (-27)
1. LAOS 5pts (+2)
2. SINGAPORE 5pts (+1)
3. MYANMAR 4pt (+1)
4. INDONESIA 1pt (-4)