Singapore to meet Indonesia; Thais face Malaysia, Vietnam

Hosts Singapore’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a boost on Wednesday after they were handed a fairly favourable draw.

Seeded as hosts for the Under-23 tournament, the Lions were drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

With only the top two progressing to the last four, it looks like Singapore will be battling for qualification with the Indonesians and Myanmar.

Nonetheless, Cambodia will be confident in their prospects having recorded a 2-1 win over Singapore just last month, while Philippines have taken huge strides in recent years and are now considered a legitimate threat in the region.

But it appears most of the drama will come in Group B after defending champions Thailand were pitted against 2011 winners Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.

Under Kiatisuk Senamuang, who also guided the senior team to victory at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Thais are favourites to finish top with Malaysia and Vietnam expected to battle it out for the second qualifying berth.

However, with the likes of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Ketsada Souksavanh to call upon, Laos could just spring an upset or two along the way.

2015 Southeast Asian Games Draw

Group A: Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines

Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste

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Gary, Nazmi lead the way in OKS’ preliminary SEA Games squad

Malaysia’s preparations for the upcoming 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games has taken another big step after coach Ong Kim Swee revealed his 30-man preliminary squad.

Leading the way are Selangor playmaker Nazmi Faiz, who was only 17 when he was part of the side that won the gold medal at the Under-23 tournament in 2011, and Johor Darul Ta’zim’s combative midfielder Gary Robbat,  who represented the senior team in the last two editions of the AFF Suzuki Cup but is yet to make his SEA Games bow, having missed out through injury two years ago.

Apart from Nazmi, Ong has included three others that were also present when they finished first in Indonesia four years ago, namely forward Syahrul Azwari and defenders Amer Saidin and Fandi Othman.

Seven players in the 30-man roster also have SEA Games experience from 2013, including left-back Nazirul Naim, who had a brief spell at Japanese outfit FC Ryukyu, and Sabah forward Rozaimi Abdul Rahman.

Ong confirmed to Football SEA that it was almost certain the 20 players that will make the final cut would come from this 30-man squad, and stressed it was important for them to be in excellent condition and injury-free by the time the SEA Games comes around at the start of June.

Apart from the usual suspects like Nazmi, Gary and Rozaimi, others who could make an impact for the Malaysians include Kedah winger Farhan Roslan, who narrowly missed out on a place in the senior team at last year’s Suzuki Cup, and 18-year-old starlet Ariff Farhan, who is currently plying his trade in the S.League with Harimau Muda.

There was also a place in the provisional roster for new Pahang signing Matthew Davies, an Australian-born full-back who qualifies for Malaysian citizenship through his mother, who hails from Sabah.

Nonetheless, Ong did stress he would be treated the same as every other player and would have to prove his worth in order to earn his spot in the final 20-man list.

Malaysia’s 30-man provisional squad for 2015 SEA Games

Goalkeepers: Farhan Abu Bakar (Harimau Muda), Syazwan Yusoff (Kelantan), Firdaus Muhamad (Kedah)

Defenders: Che Rashid Che Halim (Johor Darul Ta’zim II), Fandi Othman, Amer Saidin (both Johor Darul Ta’zim), Arif Fadzilah Abu Bakar (T-Team), Syazwan Tajuddin (Kedah), Nazirul Naim, Wan Ahmad Amirzafran (both Harimau Muda), Matthew Davies (Pahang)

Midfielders: Gary Robbat (Johor Darul Ta’zim), Akram Mahinan (Johor Darul Ta’zim II), Nurridzuan Abu Hassan (Perak), Nor Azam Azih, D. Saarvindran (both Pahang), Ariff Farhan, Syahrul Azwari, Adam Nor Azlin, Amirul Hisyam (all Harimau Muda), Nazmi Faiz, Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat (both Selangor), Ferris Danial (FELDA United), Farhan Roslan (Kedah)

Forwards: Faizat Ghazli, S. Kumaahran (both Harimau Muda), Syafiq Ahmad (Kedah), Rozaimi Abdul Rahman (Sabah), Arip Amiruddin (PKNS FC)

Singapore out of Games despite win; Malaysia fall to Saudis

Singapore were eliminated from the 2015 Asian Games in Incheon despite recording a gutsy 2-1 win over Palestine in Group C on Sunday afternoon.

Shahfiq Ghani handed the Lions the lead at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium after just two minutes, when he curled a sublime freekick into the top corner.

15 minutes later, Shahfiq was at it again as he found the opposite corner with another stunning strike from 25 yards which left Ikram Rami Hamadeh rooted to the spot.

Palestine managed to hit back seven minutes from time when Ahmad Maher Wridat was left unmarked inside the area and emphatically fired home from inside the six-yard box, although it ultimately proved to be a mere consolation.

Nonetheless, the result was not enough to send Singapore through to the Round of 16 as they were pipped to second spot by Tajikistan, who claimed a last-gasp 1-0 win over Oman courtesy of Jahongir Ergashev’s 94th-minute strike.

Over in Group A, Malaysia’s bid to progress was ended by a 3-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia at the Goyang Stadium.

Having been drawn alongside powerhouses Korea Republic and the Saudis, it was always going to be an uphill task for Harimau Malaya to advance to the last 16 and they entered the clash needing a victory to do just that.

Their cause was not helped by Zubir Azmi’s dismissal three minutes after the half-hour mark; the Terengganu left-back shown a second yellow for clattering into Abdulaziz Al Bishi.

And Saudi Arabia made their numerical advantage count in the 56th minute, when Al Bishi pounced on a loose ball inside the box and floated a pinpoint cross for captain Abdullah Al Hafith to head home.

Majed Omar then made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute when he met a lovely floated pass by Abdulkarim Al Qahtani with a cracking first-time effort into the bottom corner.

With six minutes remaining, the Green Falcons made sure of the win as substitute Ahmed Al Shehri broke free inside the box after playing a neat one-two with Al Qahtani, before stroking his shot past the onrushing Farhan Abu Bakar.

Elsewhere in the group, Laos’ campaign ended with a 2-0 defeat to Korea Republic at the Hwaseong Stadium, courtesy of second-half strikes from Lee Jong-ho and Kim Seung-dae.

Sunday’s 2015 Asian Games Results

Group A

Malaysia 0-3 Saudi Arabia

Laos 0-2 Korea Republic

Group C

Palestine 1-2 Singapore

Tajikistan 1-0 Oman

Group D

Kuwait 0-3 Iraq

Nepal 0-4 Japan

 

Malaysia crush Laos at Games; Singapore fight back for draw

Malaysia picked up their first points in Group A at the 2014 Asian Games on Wednesday after cruising to a 4-0 win over Laos at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium.

Ong Kim Swee’s charges took the lead after 12 minutes when Aidil Zafuan climbed highest inside the box to meet a left-wing freekick, and proceeded to send a header into the back of the net.

However, it took them until the 75th minute before they were able to double their tally; Gary Robbat embarking on an enterprising run into the box before unselfishly squaring the ball for Norfarhan Muhammad to finish.

From then on, there was always only ever going to be one winner and the Malaysians struck again four minutes later when Fandi Othman exchanged a neat one-two with Norfarhan before slotting into the bottom corner.

And just for good measure, they added a fourth in the 90th minute as Ferris Danial raced through and goal and fired past Soukthavy Soundala to cap off a fine display from his side.

In Group A’s other game, table toppers Korea Republic claimed a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia courtesy of Kim Seung-dae’s 12th-minute strike.

Over at the Hwaseong Stadium, Singapore produced a stirring fight-back to come from two goals down and hold Oman to a 3-3 draw in Group C.

The Omanis had edged ahead after ten minutes when Hatem Al Hamhami found space on the edge of the box and expertly curled his shot into the bottom corner.

But just a minute later, the Lions equalised after a mix-up between the opposition centre-backs allowed Sahil Suhaimi to race through and slot past Mazin Al Kasbi.

Oman managed to reclaim the lead in the 24th minute when Abdul Majeed Shamas broke free inside the box and prodded the ball past the onrushing Hassan Sunny.

And it looked as though they were on course for a comfortable victory when they went 3-1 five minutes later; Saud Al Farsi rising unchallenged inside the area to head home a cross from Ahmed Al Siyabi.

Nonetheless, Faris Ramli gave Singapore a glimmer of hope three minutes before the break after skipping inside two defenders, before curling a sublime shot into the top corner.

And four minutes from time, the comeback was completed after Safuwan Baharudin found space at the back post and stooped low to head home a Sahil freekick to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Elsewhere in the group, leaders Palestine maintained their perfect record after coming from behind to defeat Tajikistan 2-1.

Wednesday’s 2014 Asian Games Results

Group A

Malaysia 4-0 Laos

Korea Republic 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Group C

Palestine 2-1 Tajikistan

Oman 3-3 Singapore

Group D

Kuwait 5-0 Nepal

Japan 1-3 Iraq

Singapore, Malaysia open with losses at Asian Games

Singapore fell to defeat in their opening Group C match at the 2015 Asian Games in Incheon after being beaten 1-0 by Tajikistan at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium on Sunday.

In a keenly-contested clash, the Singaporeans looked to have done enough for a point after matching their opponents throughout the 90 minutes.

And they could easily have taken the lead midway through the second half when Shahfiq Ghani had a blistering effort parried by Alisher Tuychiev, before Faris Ramli sent the rebound narrowly wide with an acrobatic bicycle kick.

But with three minutes remaining, Tajikistan went on to grab all three points after Siyovush Asrorov was left completely unmarked inside the box and met Umedzhon Sharipov’s corner with a glancing header into the top corner.

Elsewhere in the group, Palestine moved top after goals from Ahmad Maher Wridat and Sameh Mara’aba handed them a shock 2-0 triumph over Oman.

Over in Group A, Malaysia also began their campaign with a loss after being defeated 3-0 by hosts Korea Republic at the Incheon Munhak Stadium.

Rim Chang-woo had handed the South Koreans the lead three minutes before the half-hour mark, but they were unable to double their tally until the 79th minute when Kim Shin-wook found the back of the net.

From then on, there was only ever going to be one winner and Lee Kwang-jong’s charges went on to seal the win three minutes later when Kim Seung-dae added a third.

The final Southeast Asian side in action on Sunday were Laos, who put in a resilient display before ultimately falling to a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in Group A.

Having kept their opponents at bay for much of the clash, the Laotians’ resistance was finally broken when Raed Abdullah Al-Ghamdi opened the scoring from the penalty spot 15 minutes from time.

Saleh Al-Shehri then doubled Saudi Arabia’s advantage in the 87th minute, before Majed Omar Kanabah also netted in the second minute of injury-time to wrap things up for his side.

Group D action saw Iraq claim top spot with a 4-0 triumph over Nepal at the Incheon Football Stadium, while Japan were also convincing winners after beating Kuwait 4-1 in the later kick-off.

Sunday’s 2015 Asian Games Results

Group A

Saudi Arabia 3-0 Laos

Korea Republic 3-0 Malaysia

Group C

Singapore 0-1 Tajikistan

Oman 0-2 Palestine

Group D

Iraq 4-0 Nepal

Japan 4-1 Kuwait

Singapore pip Malaysia to SEA Games bronze medal

Singapore claimed the bronze medal at the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after beating bitter rivals Malaysia 2-1 at the Zayarthiri Stadium on Saturday.

Despite being one of the region’s strongest sides, the Singaporeans have traditionally struggled to do well at the but were looking to claim the bronze medal for a tenth time, after losing 1-0 to Thailand in the semi-finals on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Harimau Muda were looking to bounce back from the disappointment a penalty shootout defeat to Indonesia following a 1-1 draw, which ended their hopes of a third consecutive gold medal.

But it was Aide Iskandar’s charges who took the lead in the 13th minute after Izham Tarmizi spilled a Zulfahmi Arifin corner, allowing Hariss Harun to stab home the rebound from close range.

Just a minute later, it was 2-0 as Hariss grabbed his second of the game; finding the back of the net with an emphatic finish after Sahil Suhaimi had done well to beat K. Reuben down the left and float a cross into his captain’s path.

Eight minutes after the hour mark, Malaysia did manage to pull one back after Thamil Arasu pounced on a defensive lapse and beat opposition goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

But Singapore managed to prevent their opponents from finding the equaliser, and were left celebrating a bronze-medal finish at the final whistle.

Malaysia: Izham Tarmizi, K. Reuben, Fadhli Shas, Shahrul Saad, Zubir Azmi, Asrif Nashrulhaq (Rozaimi Abdul Rahman 52’), Irfan Fazail (S. Sivanesan 64’), Nazmi Faiz, D. Saarvindran, Thamil Arasu, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri.

Singapore: Izwan Mahbud, Faritz Hameed, Safuwan Baharudin, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Zulfahmi Arifin, Faris Ramli (Nazrul Nazari 81’), Hariss Harun, Gabriel Quak (Shahfiq Ghani 87’), Sahil Suhaimi (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 90’).

Thailand, Indonesia to meet in SEA Games final

Thailand and Indonesia will meet in the final of the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Saturday after they saw off Singapore and Malaysia respectively in Thursday’s semi-finals.

Thailand, on the hunt for a record 14th gold medal, defeated Singapore 1-0 at the Zayyarthiri Stadium, courtesy of Pravinwat Boonyong’s first-half penalty.

Although Kiatisuk Senamuang’s charges were slight favourites going into the game, Singapore showed excellent initiative in the opening exchanges; Hafiz Abu Sujad wasting a good opportunity as early as the third minute before Afiq Yunos sent a header narrowly over seven minutes later.

But in the 23rd minute, Pravinwat opened the scoring when he grabbed his third of the campaign, making no mistake from 12 yards after Charyl Chappuis had been brought down by Madhu Mohana inside the area.

The Cubs continued to threaten in the second half and had a number of chances to grab an equaliser, but both Afiq and Sahil Suhaimi were unable to find the target, allowing Thailand to hold out to progress to the final.

In the other semi-final, Indonesia exacted revenge on defending champions Malaysia by beating them 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, in what was a rematch of the 2011 final.

It was Merah Putih who took the lead a minute after the half-hour mark when Bayu Gatra netted, but Malaysia pulled level in the 84th minute when Thamil Arasu converted Nazmi Faiz’s corner to force extra-time.

But with neither side able to find the winner in the additional 30 minutes of play, the game then went to the dreaded penalty shootout, the same way the final between the two teams was decided two years ago.

And this time, it was the Indonesians who prevailed as goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga emerged as the hero; saving the opposition’s first two attempts from Thamil and Shahrul Saad to pave the way for Yohanes Pahabol to fire them to a 4-3 victory with their fifth and final kick.

Thursday’s 2013 SEA Games Semi-final Results

Malaysia 1-1 Indonesia (after extra-time, 3-4 on penalties)

Thailand 1-0 Singapore