Thursday, 29 November 2012

Malaysia survive scare to rout Laos

Laos vs Malaysia: Safee Sali, Sengphachan Bountisanh
Malaysia survived a real scare on Wednesday before recording their first points of their 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup Group B campaign with a 4-1 win over Laos.
Things were going according to plan at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium for Malaysia as they took the lead 15 minutes in when captain Safiq Rahim scored with a trademark freekick, but their opponents hit back nine minutes after the half-hour mark when Khonesavanh Sihavong netted with a deflected strike.
But after wasting a host of gilt-edged chances, the hosts finally reclaimed the lead in the 67th minute when Safee Sali netted from close range, before Wan Zack Haikal and Khyril Muhymeen Zambri netted in the final 14 minutes to make sure of the three points.
Entering the game aware that a loss would end his side's title hopes after their 3-0 loss to Singapore, Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal made four changes to his starting XI by dropping Bunyamin Umar, Amar Rohidan, Muhymeen and goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi, who paid for his error that gifted the Lions their second goal last Sunday.
Into the side came Mahalli Jasuli, Wan Zack, Shakir Shaari and Farizal Marlias, and the changes looked to have the desired effect early on as they looked extremely dangerous down the wings, with the former two in particular linking up well down the right.
However, it was a mistake the presented them with their first real opening in the 11th minute when a slack touch from Viengsavanh Sayyaboun handed Safee the ball on the edge of the area, but the Malaysia spearhead could only screw a left-footed effort wide.
A minute later, he had an even better opportunity when he was picked out inside the box after S. Kunanlan had broke free down the left and played the ball back across goal, only to shoot straight at Sengphachan Bounthisanh.
Still, there was to be no denying the hosts in the 15th minute when Norshahrul Idlan Talaha earned a freekick on the edge of the area, allowing Safiq to step up and curl a delightful strike into the top corner.
While Safee was continuing to misfire, his strike partner Norshahrul was looking extremely dangerous and sent a shot just narrowly wide after bursting down the right in the 29th minute, before latching onto a Kunanlan cross eight minutes later, only to have Ketsada Souksavanah steal the ball off him as he was about to pull the trigger.
Although Malaysia were looking good value for their lead, they were left stunned six minutes before the break as Laos equalised against the run of play after a sloppy pass from Safiq gave the ball straight to Khampheng Sayavutthi. The Khonkaen striker immediately switched the ball to the rampaging Khonesavanh, whose piledriver took a wicked deflection off Aidil Zafuan and looped over the hapless Farizal Marlias and into the net.
Ten minutes into the second half, the hosts nearly shot themselves in the foot for the second time when they allowed Soukaphone Vongchiengkham to dance through the middle and spread the ball to Keoviengpheth Lithideth, but Aidil was alert to the danger and halted the Laos forward in his tracks.
Nonetheless, Harimau Malaya continued to dominated proceedings but were threatening to waste all their good work with their profligacy, and another terrific chance went begging again in the 63rd minute when Safee sent a header wide from eight yards out after being picked out unmarked inside the area by Mahalli's pinpoint cross.
But their persistence finally paid off four minutes later when Safee finally got his goal, clipping the ball over the onrushing Sengphachan after Wan Zack broken fee down the right and played a neat ball to his striker.
Having finally reclaimed the lead, Malaysia then went in search of a third to wrap up the three points and Wan Zack, who had an excellent outing, duly got in on the act in the 76th minute when he escaped his marker's attentions at the back post and nodded home a Kunanlan delivery.
By now, the Laotians were looking completely deflated at the prospect of ending up with nothing for all their efforts and ten minutes from time, the rout was completed when Muhymeen sprung the opposition offside trap and raced towards goal before calmly prodding the ball past a hapless Sengphachan.
The hosts now head into their final group game against Indonesia aware that a win would guarantee them a place in the semi-finals.
Laos: Sengphachan Bounthisanh, Phattana Syvilay (Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya 75'), Ketsada Souksavanh, Viengsavanh Sayyaboun, Kovanh Namthavixay, Kanlaya Sysomvang, Soukaphone Vongchiengkham, Visay Phaphouvanin (Daoneua Siviengxay 70'), Keoviengpheth Lithideth, Khonesavanh Sihavong (Vilayout Sayyabounsou 54'), Khampheng Sayavutthi.
Malaysia: Farizal Marlias, Mahalli Jasuli, Aidil Zafuan, Fadhli Shas, Azmi Muslim (Zubir Azmi 46'), Wan Zack Haikal, Shakir Shaari, Safiq Rahim, S. Kunanlan, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Baddrol Bakhtiar 81'), Safee Sali (Khyril Muhymeen Zambri 77').

Man United stay top after narrow win

Robin van Persie.
Robin van Persie struck after 33 seconds as Manchester United edged past West Ham 1-0 at Old Trafford.
But it turned into a nervy evening for the Barclays Premier League leaders, who were well below their best.
And whilst the visitors were not exactly on top form either on a bitterly cold evening, they came close to snatching a point late on, when Anders Lindegaard denied Carlton Cole from close range.
On his return to Old Trafford last Friday for the first time since he was bombed out by Sir Alex Ferguson six years ago, Ruud van Nistelrooy declared his hope that Van Persie would eventually eclipse his United career.
As Van Nistelrooy scored 150 times in five seasons with the Red Devils, Van Persie evidently has some way to go.
He could hardly have made a better start though.
The 29-year-old's 12th goal came in his 18th game, one fewer than Van Nistelrooy managed it in following his arrival from PSV Eindhoven. And any latecomers missed it.
With a side lacking any orthodox wingers, Van Persie checked inside from the left flank, then made his way to the edge of the area as Michael Carrick exchanged passes with Anderson.
Van Persie swivelled past Winston Reid as he collected Carrick's forward pass, then profited from James Collins' desperate attempt to block, which only sent the ball looping over Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the net.
Beaten 7-1 by Blackburn on his last visit here two years ago, Sam Allardyce must have feared the worst.
Evidently though, his team is far more durable that the poor QPR outfit that came north on Saturday.
Skipper Kevin Nolan turned Matt Taylor's low corner into the side-netting before Andy Carroll smashed a volley not that far over Lindegaard's goal.
As anticipated, Anderson's introduction for only his second Premier League start of the season provided the hosts with momentum from midfield.
The lack of width was clear though and, judging by a couple of woeful left-footed attempts that went well wide, Anderson is one of the few Brazilians who is no good at shooting.
Javier Hernandez screwed a shot wide for the hosts and the Mexican was responsible for the only other decent chance in the opening period, when Jaaskelainen turned the Mexican's shot from the edge of the area around a post.
Once again anchored in midfield, it was one of those nights when Wayne Rooney struggled on the periphery of proceedings.
He did manage to drive over from 20 yards after taking Jonny Evans' short pass but it was a rare threat to the West Ham defence.
However, it was not until he took aim with a curling shot from the edge of the area did Rooney really become a central figure as Jaaskelainen tipped it round.
The Finn pushed away Carrick's flick on from the corner, then, as Chris Smalling tried to scramble home, Nolan kept his nerve to clear from a tricky spot.
Ashley Young's arrival did little to relieve the general feeling of lethargy though and West Ham began to sense they could snatch something.
Carroll's exit may have gone down well with the home faithful but it only meant Carlton Cole could take advantage of the softening up process of the home defence.
And when Ryan Taylor screwed the striker's knockdown wide, his reaction was an indication of what a good chance it had been.
Rooney's departure 14 minutes from time was not unexpected. The fact the first job for his replacement, Danny Welbeck, was to clear behind from inside his own six-yard box was further proof of what a nervy evening it had become.
Anderson's signal to the bench that he needed to come off was not a good sign and before Phil Jones could replace him, Cole came agonisingly close to levelling Anders Lindegaard turned away his five-yard effort.
It was as near as the visitors came, even though United hardly made it easy for themselves with their sloppy defending in the final minutes.

Boring Blues booed after derby draw

Eden Hazard
Rafael Benitez was booed off instead of on to the field after Chelsea produced a second straight goalless draw in the west London derby against Fulham.
Three days after Benitez's first game in charge of the Blues saw him endure a savage reception from his new club's supporters, he was unable to turn the jeers into cheers as they slipped further off the pace in the Barclays Premier League.
And, as on Sunday against Manchester City, they could have easily lost against a Fulham side who had the better of the chances and a striker in Dimitar Berbatov who completely outshone opposite number Fernando Torres.
By the end of a frustrating evening for Chelsea fans, they were back to chanting, "You're not welcome here", at Benitez and even, "We want our Chelsea back", in front of the watching owner Roman Abramovich, who looked as bored as anyone at Stamford Bridge.
As he entered the field, Benitez was spared the cacophony of boos that greeted his introduction on Sunday, probably because this time there was no introduction.
Instead, there was what might be described as a conspiracy of silence from the home fans, with nearly all of the noise coming from the away end for a good 15 minutes.
The Fulham fans mocked the lack of atmosphere, which only improved with a chorus of, "There's only one Di Matteo".
There was certainly no football to shout about as Chelsea toiled to cut open their impressively-organised opponents.
There was not enough width from the home side to pull them out of position and not enough tempo to get through the middle, despite the best efforts of Eden Hazard.
David Luiz's skied free-kick was the first shot at goal after 25 minutes, the creativity of the rested Juan Mata becoming more and more conspicuous by its absence.
Some speedy football from Oscar finally created a real chance just before the half hour but Torres's weak shot on the turn from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross was straight at Mark Schwarzer.
Benitez said on Tuesday Torres needed to get down the gym and he was given a lesson in brute power moments later by Berbatov, who forcefully shrugged off the recalled Oriol Romeu.
Torres' flimsiness aside, Chelsea were beginning to get round the back and more than one cross prompted more than one desperate lunge.
And after a goalless first half, there was another crucial tackle shortly after the restart when Mahamadou Diarra stopped Oscar finishing off Hazard's pass.
But Chelsea could have fallen behind twice in quick succession inside 10 minutes, an errant offside flag rescuing them after Berbatov perfectly timed his run on to Diarra's flighted ball, and Petr Cech saving from John Arne Riise following a flowing breakaway.
Ramires and Giorgios Karagounis both sent shots too close to either goalkeeper before Mata finally arrived, Ryan Bertrand making way.
Fulham sent on Chris Baird for Diarra before Mata showed Chelsea what they had been missing with a corner glanced wide by Branislav Ivanovic.
An increasingly-frustrated Ivanovic was booked for disputing a free-kick, while Torres's travails continued to the extent that supporters began venting their frustration.
He, Oscar and Hazard wasted a great chance to strike after fine harrying from Azpilicueta, with Romeu following Ivanovic into the book for upending Berbatov.
The Bulgarian's coolness helped win a dangerous free-kick that got Luiz cautioned before more composed play set up Riise for a fierce drive Cech only just repelled.
In between that, Kerim Frei replaced Karagounis.
Torres finally found some space with just over 10 minutes remaining but his angled volley after good chest control was cleared by Aaron Hughes and may have been going wide anyway.
Frei had a dubious penalty appeal turned down before Marko Marin was handed his Premier League debut in place of Hazard and Mladen Petric came on for Hugo Rodallega.
With time running out, the crowd finally turned their anger on Benitez, who was urging his team forward.
Dutifully, they spent the closing moments camped in the Fulham box but despite a succession of blocked shots and other near misses, they could not force a breakthrough.

Harimau kembali bernafas

Harimau kembali bernafas
PINTU ke separuh akhir Piala AFF Suzuki kembali terbuka buat anak buah Datuk K Rajagobal selepas mencatat kemenangan ke atas Laos, malam tadi.
Skuad Harimau Malaya yang terdesak memburu tiga mata, membaham skuad Kokichi Kimura 4-1, sekali gus melenyapkan seketika kekecewaan tewas pada perlawanan pertama.

Safiq Rahim yang menerima kritikan sebelum ini membuka tirai jaringan pada minit ke-15 menerusi satu sepakan percuma selepas Norshahrul Idlan Talaha dijatuhkan di luar kotak penalti.

Gol berkenaan berjaya menyuntik semangat pemain untuk  memburu jaringan tambahan namun, gandingan Safee-Mat Yo gagal menyempurnakan beberapa peluang terhidang.

Menuju penghujung babak pertama Malaysia menggandakan asakan ke kubu Laos, namun kesilapan Safiq menghantar bola kepada pemain lawan membawa padah, apabila Khonesavanh Sihavong bijak menggunakan peluang untuk meledak gol penyamaan Laos pada minit ke-38.

Bersambung babak kedua, Rajagobal melakukan pertukaran dengan mengeluarkan Azmi Muslim dengan memasukkan Zubir Azmi.

Sedar hanya kemenangan sahaja mampu menyelamatkan kempen Malaysia pada kali ini, skuad kebangsaan kembali mengatur serangan dan hampir berada di hadapan, namun tandukan Safee pada minit ke-62 sedikit tersasar.

Bagaimanapun, empat minit kemudian penyerang Pelita Jaya itu menebus kesilapannya dengan jaringan kedua Malaysia selepas menyempurnakan hantaran Wan Zack Haikal.

Pada minit ke-75 tiba giliran Wan Zack mencetak nama selaku penjaring apabila mudah menanduk masuk untuk jaringan ketiga Harimau Malaya.

Selesa mendahului 3-1, Rajagobal melakukan pertukaran kedua dengan memasukkan Khyril Muhymeen Zambri untuk digantikan dengan Safee dan ternyata ia tidak sia-sia apabila penyerang

Kedah itu meledak gol  keempat  pada minit ke-78 selepas hanya beberapa minit berada di atas padang.

Kemenangan 4-1 diraih skuad kebangsaan menjadi penyuntik motivasi bagi mengalahkan Indonesia pada perlawanan wajib menang Sabtu ini untuk mara ke pusingan separuh akhir.

Rajagobal gembira pemain bangkit

Rajagobal gembira pemain bangkit

JURULATIH skuad kebangsaan, Datuk K. Rajagobal melahirkan rasa kegembiraan melihat kebangkitan anak buahnya yang berjaya mencatat kemenangan besar ke atas Laos dalam perlawanan kedua Piala AF Suzuki, malam tadi.
Jelasnya, dengan kemenangan itu nyata memberi mereka satu semangat yang tinggi terutamanya bagi menghadapi aksi terakhir kumpulan B menentang musuh tradisi, Indonesia Sabtu ini.
"Saya gembira dengan kemenangan ini, ia menghidupkan peluang untuk kami mara ke separuh akhir Piala AFF Suzuki.
"Apa pun, saya mahu pemain melupakan kemenangan ini dan fokus terhadap perlawanan menentang Indonesia.
"Ini kerana saya fikir perlawanan menentang Indonesia tidaklah mudah seperti yang disangkakan," katanya kepada pemberita selepas berakhirnya perlawanan menentang Laos di Stadium Bukit Jalil.
Dalam saingan malam tadi, Skuad Harimau Malaya kembali menghidupkan peluang ke separuh akhir Piala AFF Suzuki 2012 selepas membelasah Laos 4-1.
Dalam pada itu, ketika ditanya mengenai peluang Malaysia untuk menempah slot ke separuh akhir, Rajagobal bagaimanapun optimis dan yakin pasukannya masih berpeluang untuk melepasi peringkat kumpulan.
"Sebagai jurulatih, saya masih yakin dan optimis dengan prestasi pasukan kita.
"Pemain telah tunjukkan kebangkitan malam ini, jadi saya yakin prestasi ini akan kekal sehingga kita mencapai kejayaan," katanya yang turut memuji prestasi keseluruhan pemain pada perlawanan tersebut.
"Semua pemain menunjukkan kerjasama yang sangat bagus, mereka semua bekerja keras untuk menghasilkan kemenangan kepada negara.
"Saya gembira dengan peningkatan ini terutama persembahan yang ditunjukkan oleh Wan Zack Haikal dan Kunnalan. Mereka sangat bagus," jelas beliau.

Piala AFF: Indonesia kalahkan Singapura 1-0

Logo Piala AFF

PASUKAN Indonesia kembali memberikan saingan dalam Kumpulan B Piala AFF Suzuki 2012 selepas mencatatkan kemenangan tipis 1-0 ke atas pendahulu Singapura di Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil, semalam.

Skuad Garuda yang mencatatkan keputusan seri 2-2 bertemu Laos Sabtu lepas mengasak kubu Singapura sebaik sahaja wisel permainan ditiupkan oleh pengadil perlawanan Ali Hasan Ebrahim dari Bahrain namun berjaya dipatahkan oleh pertahanan Singapura yang diketuai Baihakki Khaizan dan Daniel Mark Bennett.

Baihakki mempunyai peluang untuk menjaringkan gol pada minit ke-31 namun percubaannya tersasar.

Singapura kemudian membuat pertukaran dengan mengeluarkan pemain tengah Hariss Harun dan digantikan dengan Aleksandar Duric pada minit ke-39 bagi mempertajamkan jentera serangan pasukan namun masih gagal mencari gol pendahuluan.

Pemain pertahanan Indonesia, Novan Setya Sasongko turut berpeluang untuk menjaringkan gol pembukaan untuk skuad Garuda pada minit ke-41 namun percubaannya turut tersasar.

Singapura terpaksa beraksi dengan 10 pemain pada minit ke-65 selepas pertahanan mereka, Muhammad Irwan Shah Arismail dilayangkan kad merah oleh Ali Hasan kerana mengasari pemain tengah Indonesia, Andik Vermansyah.  

Andik yang mendapat jolokan 'Messi Indonesia' akhirnya muncul wira skuad Garuda dengan menjaringkan gol kemenangan pada minit ke-86.

Gol tersebut berpunca daripada sepakan percuma oleh Andik dari jarak 15 meter yang melepasi jangkauan penjaga gol Singapura, Mohamad Izwan Mahbud sekali gus menceriakan lebih 3,000 penyokong mereka yang membanjiri Stadium Nasional.

Kemenangan tersebut membolehkan mereka mengutip empat mata untuk memimpin sementara Kumpulan B.

Indonesia akan menamatkan aksi kumpulan bertemu Malaysia di Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil manakala Singapura akan bertemu Laos di Stadium Shah Alam pada Sabtu ini.

Berikut kedudukan pasukan selepas perlawanan pertama Kumpulan B semalam.
    .                 P   M   S   K    J    B   MATA
Indonesia       2    1     1    0    3    2    4
Singapore      2    1     0    1    3    1    3
MALAYSIA 2    1     0    1    4    4    3
Laos              2    0     1    1    3    6    1

AGM Umno pentas penting buat Najib

Perhimpunan Agung Umno 2012

SHAH ALAM - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak akan menggunakan Perhimpunan Agung Umno (AGM) 2012 selama tiga hari bermula pagi ini "sebagai pentas" untuk mengetengahkan apa yang beliau telah lakukan dan akan lakukan bagi menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU13), kata Profesor Ulung Datuk  Dr. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.

"Ini pentas Datuk Seri Najib, bukan Umno, tetapi untuk Najib (untuk menghadapi PRU13)," kata beliau dalam temu bual khas sempena AGM Umno 2012 di pejabatnya di Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bandar Baru Bangi baru-baru ini.

Pengarah Institut Kajian Etnik ini berkata, beliau pasti Najib akan menggunakan untuk mengetengahkan segara perubahan yang telah dibawa sepanjang tiga tahun lalu mengepalai Umno, Barisan Nasional dan kerajaan atas kapasiti sebagai Presiden, Pengerusi dan Perdana Menteri.

"Beliau akan mengatakan bahawa saya sudah tepati janji, janji sudah ditepati, sekarang anda kena tunaikan janji, memberi sokongan undi dalam pilihan raya.

"Kini giliran anda tunaikan janji... ini mesej beliau akan sampaikan," kata pakar sosiologi dan antropologi ini.

Najib dipilih sebagai Presiden Umno pada Mac 2009, menggantikan Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi setahun selepas Pilihan Raya Umum 2008. Pada pilihan raya itu BN kehilangan majoriti dua pertiga di Parlimen dan lima kerajaan negeri.

Selaku Pengerusi BN dan Perdana Menteri, PRU13 pilihan raya umum yang pertama beliau akan mengetuai. Najib sudah mengesahkan kepada ahli-ahli Umno bahawa PRU13 tidak akan diadakan bulan depan.
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