Malaysia win 1st Leg 2-0 over brave 10-man Pakistan

1st Goal: [youtube][/youtube]

Ansar Abbas red card: [youtube][/youtube]

2nd Goal: [youtube][/youtube]

Extended Highlights: [youtube][/youtube]

Selangor, 23 Feb: New keeper Muhammad Omar made eight spectacular saves in the second session as under-strength Pakistan restricted Malaysia to only 2-0 win in London Olympics Football Qualifier at Shah Alam Stadium, Selangor State in U21 clash today. In the second leg, scheduled for 9 March at Lahore’s Punjab Stadium, Pakistan required clearcut 3-0 and 5-2 win to go through.

The race for a place at the men’s football tournament of the 2012 Olympic Games begins in earnest today with the first round of Asian Zone qualifiers. Eighteen of the 35 nations battling to represent Asia at the 30th Olympiad were in action as the continent’s lowest-ranked sides (based on the qualifiers and tournament proper at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing) kicked-off their campaign.Perhaps the most intriguing match was Malaysia’s encounter with Pakistan.

Malaysia were off to impressive start and take early third minute lead after some poor marking from a set piece by Pakistani defenders as Ipoh-born Shahrulnizam Mustapa currently playing as a midfielder for Malaysia Super League team Kedah FA , swept the ball home. Ahmad Shakir Ali might have doubled the lead in the 23rd minute but Yousof Butt was alert in Pakistan goal.

Jadeed Khan –led Pakistan went all out to get equalizer and KRL’s Kalim Ullah saw him 39th minute drive went wide off the post. Two miutes later, Faisal Iqbal created opportunity with long throw, but Kalim failed to control properly.

Pakistan suffered frustration in the 45th minute when Honk Kong Referee Liu Kwok Man gave marching orders to Ansar Abbas of Army (Hong Kong) for a foolish lunge at the Malaysian keeper. Midfielder Mohd Irfan bin Fazail consolidated the lead in the injury time with forceful drive from the top of the area after another timely cross. Malaysia led 2-0 at interval.

Malaysian football is on a roll at the moment with the senior team recently winning the AFF Suzuki Cup, the ASEAN region’s premier tournament, with a squad that contained 14 players from the U23 side that triumphed at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.

Malaysia’s current U23s come primarily from the Harimau Muda (Young Tigers) squads with the A team having recently picked up some useful international experience by participating in the Slovakian league matches and the B team taking part in the 2010 Malaysia Premier League.

Pakistan replaced keeper Yousuf with Super Football League and Pakistan Premier League’s best gloveman Muhammad Omar (KESC) and tipped away sure chances of Malaysia in the 57th and 60th minute. Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi withdrew skipper Jadeed Khan in the 62nd minute from the field and sent Saddam Hussain as substutue with Narowal’s Rizwan Asif taking over the captain’s armband. The 66th minute saw wing back Ahsan Ullah shows slackness as Malaysian gathered the stray ball but shot straight at Omar.

Lebanon’s Mazen Ramadan, AFC Men’s Match Commissioner of the Year 2009, who got the award from AFC Vice President and Chairman of AFC Competitions Committee V. Manilal Fernando having got the nod for the prestigious honour ahead of Jordan’s Talal Al Sweilmein and Sunil Senaweera from Sri Lanka at Shangri La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, was Match Commissioner of Wednesday match alongwith Referee Assessor Maniam bin Murugiah (Singapore). Liu Kwok Man (Hong Kong) supervised the match while Chan Shui Hung and Chow Chun Kit acted as ARS. The fourth official was Ng Kai Lam. All four officials were from Hong Kong.

The 11 winners of first round will join the 13 highest ranked teams in the second round where they will again play in a home-and-away format on June 19 and June 23.

Following were the two teams:

Pakistan U21 Team

Goal keepers: Yousof Ejaz Butt (Birkerod IF Skjold, Denmark), Amir Gul (NBP), Muhammad Omar (KESC)

Defenders: Manzoor Ahmed (WAPDA), Alamgir Khan (Police), Ahsan Ullah (PEL), Obaid Majeed (KPT), Ansar Abbas (Army)

Midfielders: Faisal Iqbal (NBP), Syed Arif Hussain (WAPDA), Muhammad Tauseef (WAPDA), Muhammad Adil (KRL), Mahmood Khan (KRL), Irfan Khan (Bradford Park Avenue Association Football Club, England)

Strikers: Saddam Hussain (PIA), Fahad Ullah Khan (PTV), Jadeed Khan Pathan (WAPDA) CAP, Rizwan Asif (KRL) VC, Kalim Ullah ( KRL)

Malaysia U21 Team:

Goal Keepers : Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan), Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan (Harimau Muda A)

Defenders: Mohamad Muslim Ahmad CAP, Mohd Affize Faisal Mamat, Mohd Faizal Muhamad, Mahalli Jasuli, Mohamad Fadhli Mohd Shas, Mohd Fandi Othman (Harimau Muda A)

Midfielders: K. Gurusamy VC, Wan Zaharulnizam, Mohd Irfan bin Fazail, Robbat Gary Steven, S. Sivanesan, Wan Zack Haikal (Harimau Muda A), Mohamad Faizal Abu Bakar (Kedah)

Strikers: Mohd Ferris Daniel Mat Nasir (Harimau Muda A), Ahmad Shakir Ali (Kedah), Ahmad Fakri Saarani (Negeri Sembilan)