Tuesday, March 26, 2013
A SUPERB goal in each half earned Palestine a 2-0 win over Malaysia in a charity international match at Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan yesterday.
The match, organised by the Sports Ministry, raised RM910,000 and the proceeds channeled to the "Palestine Fund" and "Lahad Datu Patriot Fund".
In the absence of several regulars, national coach K. Rajagobal made five changes to his side, who edged Yemen 2-1 in an Asian Cup Qualifying match last week.
Malaysia’s Mohd Amri Yahyah (right) and Palestine’s Khaled A.K. Mahdi tussle for the ball at the Darulmakmur Stadium yesterday
He fielded goalkeeper Farizal Marlias, Faizal Muhammad, Fadhli Shas, K. Reuben, Asraruddin Putra Omar, Safiq Rahim, K. Gurusamy, Azamuddin Akil, K. Gopinathan, Amri Yahyah and Khyril Muhymeen Zambri.
"I had a good look at some of the players, who did not play against Yemen and it has given me more options for future reference," said Rajagobal yesterday.
The Malaysians were unimaginative as they hardly played decent passes throughout the match.
The homesters tested Palestine goalkeeper Tawfiq Abuhammad only once through Amri's long range effort, which was blocked for a corner kick.
Palestine's Khaled Salem and captain Imad Zatara were the most dangerous players as they constantly made it difficult for the Malaysian back-line, who were outwitted on many occasions.
Khaled Salem's brilliant volley, off a cross from Imad inside the box, put Palestine ahead in the 40th minute.
Rajagobal practically replaced his entire line-up in stages in the second half as Young Tigers C goalkeeper Ahmad Syihan Hazmi conceded a goal, seconds after replacing Norazlan Razali.
Ashraf Nu'man Alfawaghra placed his free kick into the top right corner of the goal mouth past Syihan in the final minute but the keeper made amends by blocking a Hussam Saleh penalty kick in stoppage time.
The atmosphere inside the Darul Makmur stadium here was electrifying as football fans eagerly waited for the kick-off of the charity football match between the national team and Palestine.
The fans started entering the stadium as early as 6pm – some three hours ahead of the 8.45pm scheduled kick-off – and many came dressed in the colors of the national squad.
The Malaysian fans clearly came prepared – with scarves and placards – to spur the players to clinch another victory, after the 2-1 win against Yemen in the Asian Cup qualifying match last Friday.
The Ultras Malaya fans, dressed in black and yellow, sang several songs showing their support and cheered loudly when the national players walked on the pitch for the warm-up.
Rajagobal, in his trademark lucky white shirt, was seen talking to his assistants as he watched his players warm up from the touchline.
The friendly match was organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry to help raise funds for "Palestine Fund" and "Lahad Datu Patriot Fund".