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A dramatic end to Harimau Malaya’s Asian Cup campaign
Published on: Saturday, January 27, 2024
By: James Wong
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A dramatic end to Harimau Malaya’s Asian Cup campaign
IT was a great battle between Malaysia and South Korea in the AFC Asian Cup competition on Thursday which ended in a 3-3 draw.

The game was filled with comebacks and it is fair to say that both teams deserve to win in such a thrilling encounter.

South Korea only needed one point to qualify before the start while Malaysia only played for pride after losing the opening two matches and languishing at the bottom with no point.

On paper Malaysia was up against one of the favourites in the competition and most fans were anticipating a loss because the team was so unpredictable in the last two matches.

Having lost 0-4 to Jordan and 0-1 to Bahrain, one would not bet on their winning chances against the technically sound South Koreans.

As expected, the first half was dominated by South Korea. Their relentless attacks led to the opening goal for them to take a 1-0 lead at the interval.

It was a different Harimau Malaya in the second half. The players seemed to execute Kim Pan Gon’s plan well and played with extra vigour and full of energy.

The players were now running hard and strikers were also helping out in defence and that made life very difficult for the Koreans.

We were also able to penetrate their defence and Faizal Halim finally scored the country’s first goal in the competition in the 51st minute.

What a moment for the Malaysians with the equalising goal and Arif Aiman followed that up with the second goal in the 62nd minute when he converted from the spot after he was fouled earlier in the box.

It was a dream for the national team to take the lead against the mighty South Koreans and we managed to hold on until the 83rd minute when Lee Kan-on scored to level the score.

They then re-took the lead four minutes into injury time with the penalty taken by Son Heung-min but the Harimau Malaya players refused to concede defeat and they kept on fighting and were rightly rewarded 15 minutes into added time when Romel Morales scored the third to tie the match and earned the team a well deserved point.

What a dramatic end to Harimau Malaya in the competition!

Kudos to the team for a fine performance. One may say that we could have produced much better results against Jordan and Bahrain earlier if the players displayed the same performance as they did in the second half against the Koreans 

However, we cannot play football with only what if’s and the players need to learn from the lesson   that they have to play their best in the full 90 minutes at all times.

Well done Harimau Malaya!

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