October 10, 2011

Piala Malaysia 2011 : Quarter Finals Review [ First Leg]

 

We arrive again to the duel of the last eight of Malaysian Cup. Eight Malaysian top notch clubs will meet in the first leg of first knockout round. Selangor, Felda United, Perak , Sabah , T-Team , Kelantan and Terangganu survived the grouping stage held last month. The knock out stage structure is shown below:

 

 

International Duty

The knockout round was previously scheduled on 8th October . However was later postponed by FAM to allow International fixture against Australian National team which was held on 7th October at Canberra Staduim , Australia. The team traveled back to Malaysia on 8th and was given a day rest before resuming final training with club team before the quarter final clash. Hence , players represented Malaysia would be vulnerable to fatigues . The club team managers will have a horrid time planning their squad.

However, comparing to top European clubs, Malaysian clubs were barely affected by the International Fixture. With Rajagopal leaving few key player behind, only few player who should feature in the Malaysian Cup Quarter Final traveled to Australia. From 23 man squad versus Australia only these player actually made it to the field.

  • Mohd Asraruddin Putra Omar (Selangor)
  • Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Kelantan)
  • Joseph Kalang Tie ( Terengganu)
  • Zubir Azmi (Terengganu)
  • Mohd Norhafiz Zamani Misbah (Negeri Sembilan)
  • S.Kunanlan (Negeri Sembilan)
  • Mohd Farizal Marlias (Negeri Sembilan)

It seems teams like T-Team , Perak , Sabah and Felda United might be benefiting from the international fixture . Negeri Sembilan might be suffering the most as their key players, Zamani Misbah and Kunanlan played all 90 minutes.

 

Felda United vs Negeri Sembilan

The Azrai boys will be visiting the Elavarasan boys at Stadium MPPJ. As the group champions , Negeri Sembilan will have the advantage to play first leg on away ground and the deciding leg at home. Felda on the other hand is known for their convincing home runs despite not having an actual home ground. They beat Kelantan 2-0 impressively at Stadium Selayang in the grouping stages. Felda has a solid defensive team who always attacks trough pace in the counter attack. However against an attckign firepower like Hasmawi Hassan, Kunanlan and Fakri Saarani, defending deep would be suicidal if not done perfectly.

 

Sabah vs T-Team

The mighty T-Team will be traveling to Stadium Likas in Sabah . A rather experience squad which unites many former Malaysian Natinal Team players and other experienced player will be facing Sabah which has recently reborn under Gary Phillips. However , Gary Phillips was later replaced by Justin Ganai. T-Team will be relying on Indra Putra in attack.The veteran striker has been productive in attack so far for the eastern club. T-Team is considered the best attacking team in this campaign with scoring 15 goals so far.

 

Selangor vs Perak

The only team remaining unbeaten will be travelling to Shah Alam to take on Selangor. Having all players ready and rested since the even before final grouping game, Perak is likely to run riot at Shah Alam Stadium. The likes of Shafiq Jamal and Akmal Rizal will be dueling with a vurnerable Slengor defense. However, the new management in the Red Giant saw a new hope for Selangor. P.Maniam impressively leading Selangor to a new life in Malaysian Cup. Norizan Bakar have only have two games to observe the playing style of Maniam . The last game of Selangor vs Kuala Lumpur saw a very highly spirited Selangor side. IF this remains , it will he harder for Perak to tame the Red Giants

 

Terrenganu vs Kelantan

Might be considered by many as the match of the day. Quite possibly could have been a great final, but the clash of these two eastern giants so early might spark the rest of the campaign. Terengganu beat Kelantan in the FA Cup final in their last meeting in June. Hence this will be the perfect chance for revenge for the Red Warriors. Stadium Sultan Ismail is expected to be full with both supporters. However the move by the authorities to raise the ticket price raised question among fans. Many blasted the authorities for taking advantage of a big clash to make more money. But many fans didn’t realize that all other stadiums in Malaysia has raised thier ticket price a long time ago.

 

TV Coverage

 

ASTRO ARENA )801) : Selangor vs Perak : Live from Stadium Shah Alam @ 8:00 PM

RTM 1 (101) : Teregganu vs Kelantan : Slight Delay, giving way to news Telecast : @9:00 PM

 

October 9, 2011

Game Analysis : Australia vs Malaysia [Friendly]

 

The all awaited game ended up a disaster  for Malaysia. Malaysian were humiliated on the world stage and literally man-slaughtered in front of 10,041  fans watching from Canberra Stadium and millions watching from home.

It was a pain to watch from the very first minute,  the infamous Asean Champions were left chasing the ball, sorry, pardon me, watching the ball from kick off. And yes, Malaysian kicked off first , and gave the ball straight away to Australian.Amusing enough, this is the first time one would see a tiger eaten alive by a kangaroo.

The Game Plan

For any analyst watching this game , it would tough to say what both teams were up to. Australians were very fluid moving at every chance , creating spaces and using their entire space off the field brilliantly. While Malaysians, one would be puzzled, what are they even doing here. It looked as if they left their brains back in Malaysia.

One thing for sure, it was Malaysia who allowed Australia to play at that level of fluidity. Rajagopal is a brilliant coach at AFF Suzuki Cup, i would never take away that from him. But after the so called success, what actually did he bring to the team? Young talent, more young talents , crappy defense and a dysfunctional midfield.

Malaysia played a classic 4-4-2, with Safee playing frontmost as a target man, and Nor Shahrul providing support for him in a Support Striker role.Shahrul was required to move closer to the ball playing area and find a way to break trough from counter attack once Australians lose the ball. In the 4-man  midfield , Amar Rohidan and Joseph Kalang Tie was stationed in the central area in a  Central Midfielder role.On the flank , Kunalan played left midfielder but was required to drop very deep to provide defensive cover, while Badrol Bakhtiar played a more advance Right Midfielder who barely covered his defense. While the puppets in defense doesn’t really matter, they just moved along with Australian attack.

The Malaysian plan was simple, close spaces in midfield and stop Australian from advancing to face their back four. When that happens, Australians will tend to put more man forward, leaving Safee and Shahrul more space and room for counter. As easy as it sounds, it is a pretty doable tactic.But Malaysia is the only team that can be thumped 5-0 even when playing defensive from minute 1 in a friendly.

 

The Pressing and Off The Ball Movements

Thursday game against the Socceroos show the amateur level of defending and pressing in midfield. You are up against a big and well structured team in their home ground. I would expect Malaysia to at least put a fight or even a dirty fist fight to show a spirit to win. It seems like , throughout the game, only Rueben was man enough to make brave tackles which ended up a stupid challenge. But hey, he did at least try, while others became spectators on the field.

The first flaw in the Malaysian plan is that they forgot their plan. They were supposed to close space in midfield to stop Australians to advance , and they successfully failed in that. When step one failed, there was no room to perform step two.Personally, i don’t think that Australians can pass that well. They there are quick to move and find space to receive the ball. However, Malaysian gave them too much space and the rest is history.

 

Great Players but Crappy Team

Great players does not always make good teams. Malaysia is a good example for that. All players fielded by Rajagopal that evening was unarguably the best of Malaysians. However, they failed to perform and fans who were hailing them before game was left to curse after the game.

The problem is, Malaysian play for themselves, even a nonjudgmental eye could point that.  In both Olympic and first team, they are a sincere lack of communication between the players. Im not saying verbal language ,  sure enough i couldn’t hear them from the Television. I’m pointing out they way the team is organized. They back four was a disaster. No one conducted the offside line. The defenders moved freely without attaching themselve to their partners thus canceling every offside trap.

spacebe.png (343×319)

The midfield was another joke defensively.Everyone was closing space very inefficiency. The basic principle of closing space is  to force your opponent to move to the most non threatening area , normally to the flank. This needs a perfect positioning from two or more players to shutdown opponents options. Observe the above image, the orange region is the region that player A could pass to. The player C, D and E are the normal positioning of  Malaysian player.Look how the player C stayed in the region already covered by player D and leaves enormous space for a Australian player to receive pass. If he moved a bit forward space could have been reduced and Australians will have hard time penetrating forward.

The Player Ratings

Safee Sali  (5) – could make nothing out of nothing, showed some move but rarely got taste of the ball

Nor Shahrul (3.5) – A player responsible to launch attack, but did nothing real worthy, was too lazy and effortless in defense.

Kunanlan (4) – was good defensively but barely made forward. Got annoyingly selfish in the second half.

Joseph Kalang (5) – Despite being run out in midfield, the youngster showed real calmness. Was clueless on how to defend, lost the ball to much. But did provide few great quick touches and quick long ball forward.

Amar Rohidan (4) – Is not a defensive midfielder and never will be. not aggresive at all.

Badrol Bakhtiar (3) – was he even on the field?

Asrarudin (4) – was to blame for the first goal. poor man marking but often saved blush by Kunalan

Mulsim (4) – Did nothing a defender, few block and clearance

Zamani (4) – showed no sign of experience. never conducted the back line .

Mahali (3)  – worst of the match. was  always off the line. giving his tea mates nightmare. Lost focus easily

Fahmi (5) – some routine signature saves, but had to pic the ball countless times.

Reuben (6) – impressed by his work rate. could be a defensive midfielder

The media

I’d take this chance to blast the media . I watched Astro Arena, the commentary was annoying. Please use either English or Malay. Combining both language iis making the already “rojak” malaysian game play much more “rojak-er”. Aren’t a more suitable word for ball watching in Malay?Plus the post game show was not informative, the are plenty things to cover on this game. Please, dont expect our player to start using their brain when we ourselves are not using ours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 5, 2011

International Friendly Preview : Malaysia vs Australia

Malaysian football fans can at last see their beloved national team in action. An announcement has been made that The Tigers will travel to Australia to face Australian National Team in a friendly on coming 7th October. There have been few criticism on lack of friendly for the national team. Their previous game is dated back in July , where the Malaysian drew 1-1 against Singapore in the second round of World Cup Qualifiers at Bukit Jalil Stadium. There have been two friendlies scheduled after the game against Singapore , at Indonesia and Oman, but both were cancelled for various reasons.

The match will played at Canberra Stadium on Friday 7th October 2011. Kick off is scheduled at 8pm Australian time , which will be around 5 pm Malaysian Time. Malaysian team will travel to Australia from 4th to 8th October for this event.  The date of the match raised eyes brows among fans since it is dated one day before the Malaysian Cup Quarter Final games. However, Football Association of Malaysia made a quick move to postpone the Quarter Final matches to 10th October.

Team News

After a poor performance in a 2-1 win against Thailand, Australian national team will be looking to gain the team spirit ahead of World Cup Qualifiers game at Oman scheduled 4 days after the Malaysian friendly. Harry Kewell and Emerton was omitted from the squad facing Malaysia due to club duties .Still, the Socceroos have the service of Premierleague stars such as Tim Cahill, Lucas Neill and Mark Schwarzer. However, Cahill and Schwazer was left out later due to injuries. The Australian full squad list is as below:

Adam Federici, Lucas Neill (captain), Sasa Ognenovski, Matthew Spiranovic,

Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo, Mile Jedinak, Neil Kilenny,

Matt McKay, Adam Sarota, James Troisi, Carl Valeri, Brett Holman, Josh Kennedy,

Alex Brosque, Robbie Kruse.

Malaysia however, left out few key players and named a rather experimental squad. Notably the absent of captain Safiq Rahimin the squad list raised question . Rajagopal explained that Safiq was left due to under-performance in the Malaysian Cup campaign with Selangor. Others who were left are, Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal, Mohamad Azmi Muslim (Kedah), Mohd Sharbinee Allawee, Helmi Remeli, Abdul Hadi Yahaya, Ismail Faruqi Ashari, Mohamad Ashaari Samsudin (Terengganu), Mohd Rizal Fahmi Ab Rosid and Mohd Shakir Shaari (Kelantan) .

The final 22 squad features few new names, Yong Kuong Yong, Rueben and Joseph Kalang Tie. All three of them showed impressive display in their club fixture. Rueben , however, is a performer in a Malaysian Unileague which is contested amoung Malaysian University students. Despite being named as a midfielder he can function as a striker. Another young talent to watch would ne Joseph Kalang Tie, a creative midfielder playing for Terengganu.

However the inclusion of Safee Sali have showed a light of hope for Malaysians. The prolific striker spent a stint at Indonesia and recently finished trial period at Cardiff. The re-inclusion of Zamani Misbah also surprised many fan. Rajagopal who was adamant to leave him out for Olympic Qualifiers and replaced him with young talent. But Rajagopal calling him back, shows that the coach is not stubborn as many criticized. Another veteran inclusion is Khyril Muhaymeen of Kedah . Khyril had a fantastic performance at Malaysian Cup. He finished top scorer after grouping stage despite Kedah being kicked out of the competition.

September 28, 2011

Piala Malaysia 2011 : Kedah vs Perak : Match Analysis

        VS     

Kedah failed to collect the all wanted 3 points and qualify to the next round. 20, 000 fans filling the Darulaman Stadium last night were left dissapointed by the former double treble champions. They have only themselves to blame for playing porrly despite needing a win.

The Game Plan

Kedah started with a  very dynamic 4-4-2 . This formation is easily convertible to a 3-4-3  when the fullbacks push up the field and Amar Rohidan dropped deep in between the defender to form a three man defense.  Fikry and Sabree provided width upfront for the canaries by staying very wide. While Khyril Muhymeen and Faizal Abu Bakar playing a target center forward by roaming along Perak’s back four.

 

kedah perak

 

The formation clearly shows the game plan of Wan Jamak. He wanted to number up in the final third and along the flank. Four players (Fikry, Khyril, Faizal and Sabre) running trough the Perak’s defend to cause trouble. While Thiru and Shafizan provided cover behind the wingers. He wanted to attack trough the flank and stop any counter attacking threat from the flank ,early, by pushing both full backs forward.

However, having numerical advantage upfront and at the defense, Kedah was outplayed in midfield area. Often it was down to Badrol Bakhtiar alone to create and he failed miserably. Badrol had only his fullbacks alongside him to link up play.  There was a big gap between the midfield and attacker. This only invited Kedah to play silly long ball and expect for defensive errors from Perak.

Perak on the other hand played pretty much a second string team.While 6 players are suspended, Perak rested their key defenders Khairi Zainudin, Chan Wing Hong and winger Rafiudin Roddin. They played a deep defending 4-4-2 with the pace of Safiq Jamal and Failee causing trouble for the canaries.

The young defenders of Perak was impressive , they were hardly beatable trough the middle. Even when Kedah strikers found a way to beat  Perak’s defend, they were often forced to the wide side. Khyril Muhymeen found a way trough, but quick cover from Perak’s defend forced him to retreat from shooting.

The controversy

This match became very interesting for its for its controversies. Kedah had two goals disallowed in the first half. The first goal was from a free kick converted by Badrol Bakhtiar. The ball went into the back of the net without touching Khyril who was in an offside position.However, rule of FIFA states that players interfering with the play from an offside position should be called offside. The linesman was right to call it disallowed. From a logical view, the ball was travelling very slow, and if Kyril was not standing there, the goalkeeper surely will have his hand on it.

The second disallowed goal was somehow invited more controversy. Sabree went in for a fair challenge against the goalkeeper from a corner. In any other play, this will be considered a 50-50 challenge and advantage  will be given. However, be noted that in set pieces and corner kicks, goalkeepers are often protected. A slight foul on keeper is considered a foul.Hence the official was right again to disallow the goal.

It was shameful to see how Kedahans reacted after that. Protesting the refree is one thing, but accusing him on being bribed on live telecast is unethical. Badrol showed the money sign to the bench which was broadcasted nationwide. The rest of the second half was taken away from Kedah players when they seemed to be frustrated to go for the win.

Second Half

Wan Jamak saw the numerical advantage in midfield. He has no point to defend with numbers because Sabah scored against Johor at Larkin. He pushed Amar Rohidan further up to help Badrol with the attack. This change seemed to pay of with Kedah having a firm grip at the game. They passed they ball and linked up with each other well. However , leaving a two man defense caused Kedah, when Amar Rohidan was caught up in attack and failed to cover the defense. Shafiq Jamal, a Kedah born player , scored Peraks only goal.

Kedah looked spirited as they scored a reply in 3 minutes from a corner. However the level of motivation shown by the canaries was not enough. They were not decisive in attack. They are not build mentally to spark a comeback form the first goal.

Wan Jamak At Fault

The overall structure of Kedah was ridiculous. The main point would the placing of Sabree Abu in the wing. The defender who is not a dribbler nor a crosser played in the right wing ineffectively. The young winger Wan Asyraf showed more trickery than Sabree. Wan Jamak could also used Thiru as fullback to attck the right flank while putting an extra man in the midfield.

The second half change to move Amar Rohidan further was spot on. However, leaving two man in defense is suicide. The fullback should have been retreated to defend much more deeper.He also depended too much from Badrol to create miracle. One of either Faizal or Khyril should dropped deeper to assist Badrol.

His comments about the Johor game and the referee controversies are also shameful. Surely we don’t want a Mourinho in Malaysian football.

Conclusion

Kedah was rightfully kickout of the tournament. They showed no hunger to win , despite needing a win badly. Badrol played a great game individually but failed as a team. He couldnt break the solid Perak defend. The Kedahans lacked creativity , or one could say have no creativity at all. Wacthing Selangor create a a comeback from similar 1-0 early goal, it is evident that Kedah player are lacking the motivationdo suceed.

Kedah need fresh players, particularly a creative Attacking midfielder. Badrol alone is not enough for the notherners. Kedah can now relax at home, watching the other teams play, and learn from them.

September 27, 2011

Piala Malaysia 2011: Matchday 6 Preview [ 27 September ]

 

The final round of the grouping stage is schedules on 27th September. The key battles will be amoung the four teams which will be fighting  for the second place in group A and D , Kedah, Sabah, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Other matches will be deciding the final standing to determine the lesser opponent and first leg away in the Quarter Finals.

 

The Forgotten Battles

The heat of the Malaysian Cup 2011 is starting to boil as two more teams will face elimination today. While focus of the press have been shifted to these matches, lets not forget other matches that will be deciding the final standing of the group. Among the Malaysian top 16 football clubs, only Perak of Group A have book the place as group champions. Others, though qualifying to the next round, have still left a task to secure first spot in the group.

The team qualifying as group Champions will have gain advantage in the Quarter Finals. They supposedly be playing a much lesser opponent, who finished second in other group. In other words, finishing second indicates that you will be playing against the mighty champions other group. The champions will also have the advantage of playing away first in the two legged knockout round.

Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan will be battling directly to secure top spot. A draw here will he favoring for Negeri Sembilan, as they won 1-0 at home against Terengganu earlier in round 3. Group C also sees a similar battle. Both Kelantan and Felda United will meet each other to determine the top spot. A draw here will be favoring to Felda United.

While in group D, though haven’t yet qualified,  Kuala Lumpur still have the chance to emerge group champions. T-Team will have to win in order to remain at the top. While Kuala Lumpur will only bee needing a draw against Selangor if T-Team loses to PDRM ,which is less likely.PDRM have the worst defensive record, conceeding 13 goals and only scored 1 in this campaign.

 

Selangor vs Kuala Lumpur

Selangor will be entertaining Kuala Lumpur at Stadium Shah Alam to keep the title hopes alive. Anything less than a win will not be enough for Selangor, which should put them in an atacking mode. The burden will surely be put on Amri Yahyah’s shoulders. The veteran striker has been below par this campaign and was subject to criticism . Yet, he proved his worth by scoring in last week 4-1 win against PDRM. Though the game against PDRM can’t be taken as the prove of Selangor’s rebirth. The Malaysian police force football team have only scored a single goal in the entire campaign (which came against Selangor) and conceded  13 goal so far.

The new coach and a big win should give the Red Giants a lift in spirit and hopes for survival. P.Manian played a 4-3-3 and pushed Safiq Rahim and Azidan Sarudin upfront to help Amri Yahyah. Midfielder Amirulhadi Zainal however, was positioned as a right back, making dazzling forward runs down the flank. P.Manian also suprised the fans by trusting his young defender, Nazri Ahmad , to start in the center of the defend.

Kuala Lumpur must be very alert escpecially in defend. Kuala Lumpur have the best defensive record along side Felda United with only conceding 2 goals so far. It al comes down to the impressive display of goalkeeper Norazlan Razali, who is having a fantastic campaign with Kuala Lumpur.

 

Kedah vs Perak and Sabah vs Johor

Sabah must expect Kedah to drop points against Perak to advance to the next round. Both teams will be playing against a team which have nothing to play for. Perak having secured the top spot , might field a lesser and unpredictable team. But still, the Seladang’s will look to maintain their unbeaten record.

Kedah’s defensive has been an absolute blunder this campaign. Several senior players such as Fauzi Shaari, Fauzi Nan and Sabree Abu have been under heavy criticism for not trying hard enough. The Kedah skipper, Fauzi Nan, however claims that they have spotted the weakness and adjusted it accordingly and last weeks narrow win against Sabah was a proof to that. Kedah kept a clean sheet against Sabah in Darulaman while creating plenty of scoring chances.

Sabah on the other hand will receive the visit of Johor FA to Stadium Likas. Johor who also have nothing to play for might be an easy challenge for Sabah. However, the southerners will want to end their campaign memorably despite failing to advance. They have nothing but to go all out for the last time.

 

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STANDING TABLE

Group A

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 Perak FA 5 13 4 1 0 8 4 4
2 Kedah FA 5 7 2 1 2 8 7 1
3 Sabah FA 5 7 2 1 2 6 5 1
4 Johor FA 5 1 0 1 4 6 12 -6

Group B

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 Negeri Sembilan FA 5 12 4 0 1 10 4 6
2 Terengganu FA 5 12 4 0 1 8 3 5
3 PKNS FC 5 6 2 0 3 6 6 0
4 Sime Darby 5 0 0 0 5 1 12 -11

Group C

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 Kelantan FA 5 10 3 1 1 9 4 5
2 Felda United 5 10 3 1 1 6 2 4
3 Johor FC 5 5 1 2 2 4 6 -2
4 Sarawak FA 5 3 1 0 4 1 8 -7

Group D

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 PBDKT T-Team 5 10 3 1 1 9 4 5
2 Kuala Lumpur FA 5 9 2 3 0 6 2 4
3 Selangor FA 5 7 2 1 2 7 4 3
4 PDRM FA 5 1 0 1 4 1 13 -12

 

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MATCHDAY 6 FIXTURE


Kedah vs Perak (LIVE ASTRO ARENA 801)
Stadium Darul Aman, Alor Setar 

Sabah vs Johor
Stadium Likas, Kota Kinabalu – 8.15 mlm

Terengganu vs N.Sembilan (LIVE TV1)

 Stadium Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, KT – 8.45 mlm

Sime Darby vs PKNS
 Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Selayang – 8.45 mlm

Kelantan vs Felda Utd 

 Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV, Kota Bharu – 8.45 mlm

Johor FC vs Sarawak
 Stadium Majlis Perbandaran Pasir Gudang – 8.45 mlm

Selangor vs Kuala Lumpur (DELAYED ASTRO ARENA 801)

Stadium Shah Alam, Selangor – 8.45 mlm

PDRM vs T-Team
 Stadium Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Paroi – 8.45 mlm
September 25, 2011

Piala Malaysia 2011 : Matchday 5 Review


Six team book place to quarter finals knockout round while another two slot is being heavily contested by four teams.  Kelantan, Perak, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, FELDA United and T-Team can breathe a sigh of relief as all of them are trough to the next round.

 

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GROUP A

Kedah move to the second place with a head to head record after losing 2-1 at Stadium Likas and winning the 1-0 against Sabah in fifth round. A goal from Khyril Muhaimeen right before half time was enough for the Canaries to regain the composure in Group A.

Perak won 0-1 at Stadium Larkin and book place as group champions. They will meet the winner of next round’s Selangor vs Kuala Lumpur in the Quarter Finals.

 

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 Perak FA 5 13 4 1 0 8 4 4
2 Kedah FA 5 7 2 1 2 8 7 1
3 Sabah FA 5 7 2 1 2 6 5 1
4 Johor FA 5 1 0 1 4 6 12 -6

 

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GROUP B

The qualification of group B is already decided. Next rounds Terengganu versus Negeri Sembilan will decide the final standing. Negeri Sembilan won 1-0 at home against Terengganu earlier in round 3 ,hence Terengganu will be needing atleast a 2-0 win to advance group champions.

The winner of this group will face the runner up of Group C while the runner up of Group B will meet the champion of Group C which will be either Kelantan or Felda United.

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 Negeri Sembilan FA 5 12 4 0 1 10 4 6
2 Terengganu FA 5 12 4 0 1 8 3 5
3 PKNS FC 5 6 2 0 3 6 6 0
4 Sime Darby 5 0 0 0 5 1 12 -11

 

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GROUP C

The qualification of this group is decided as well, with both Kelantan and Felda United topping the table at 10 points. Last group fixture where these two teams meet will decide the final standing. Felda United won 2-0 aginst Kelantan at home earlier in 3rd round. Hence, Kelantan will be needing a win more than 2-0 to emerge group champions.

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 Kelantan FA 5 10 3 1 1 9 4 5
2 Felda United 5 10 3 1 1 6 2 4
3 Johor FC 5 5 1 2 2 4 6 -2
4 Sarawak FA 5 3 1 0 4 1 8 -7

 

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GROUP D

T-Team guaranteed qualification while Kuala Lumpur and Selangor will battle for qualification in the final round of Group D.  Last night, Selangor trashed PDRM with their new head coach and kept their tittle hopes alive.

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/- Form
1 PBDKT T-Team 5 10 3 1 1 9 4 5
2 Kuala Lumpur FA 5 9 2 3 0 6 2 4
3 Selangor FA 5 7 2 1 2 7 4 3
4 PDRM FA 5 1 0 1 4 1 13 -12

September 25, 2011

Datuk Rajagopal Demands Salary?

 

With various rumors surrounding the future of Datuk K.Rajagopal with the Malaysian national team, his contract extension remains to the list of questions remains unanswered. His contract is set to expire on 31st December 2011, but the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has still came up with the extension offer.

The normal procedure for contract extension would be before 3 months of expiry date. In Datuk Raja’s case, it would 3oth September 2011. However, with less than a week remaining , there seems to be no indication of continuing with him as the head coach. Is it due the some hiccups and poor performance in the World Cup Qualifiers?

On 9th June 2011, FAM confirmed the desire to continue the service of Datuk Raja and the technical committee  has reached its verdict. If the committee has agreed, then why is it taking so long for both party to sign a formal deal? An insider’s also revealed that the committee agrees to give a pay rise and other perks to Datuk Raja.

The extension of Rajagobal’s contract was brought up during the technical committee meeting some time back (8th March) and they discussed about his employment terms. FAM would want to extend his contract until 2013 but there has been no attempts to seal the deal since.

Rajagobal has only been verbally assured that his services are still required but he has not signed anything so far. Most of the time, such contracts will only be discussed upon three months before the contract ends, but if the technical committee has agreed to extend Rajagobal’s contract, then it shouldn’t take both parties so long to sign.

On a different view, another turn of rumors turns out. It is learned trough some source that a contract had been offered but an agreement failed to be reached as Datuk Raja demanded a higher pay rise. Reportedly, Datuk Raja demanded  RM40,000  a month ,which makes him the highest paid coach in Malaysia. Besides, he asked for addtional incentives such as housing allowance for his newly renovated house which probably cost RM 450,000 and also a car allowance of another RM 3000.00 . And all this tax free.

FAM might think twice to agree blindly for these demand. Entertaining Datuk Raja’s needs might invite other coaches, Malaysian assistant coaches Tan Cheng Hoe, Faozi Mukhlas  and Rastislav Bozik,  to demand as well. This will inflate the footballing money in Malaysia. Logic aside, Datuk Raja is a deliverer and such coach always comes with a price.

Datuk Raja currently was linked with several moves to Europe. Read here for more information. And recently another rumors arose that Indonesian Club Arema already drafted a contract with Datuk Rajagopal with only signing left to be done.

Some might be criticizing and call this greed but it is acceptable for the most successful Malaysian coach in modern football era to demand his needs. After all its money that pays his mortgage, not football.

September 24, 2011

Piala Malaysia 2011 : Round 5 Preview [24th September 2011]

The Malaysian Cup have reached its fifth round of the grouping stages. There are plenty of deciders and important fixture.Here is a quick preview of the fifth round.

 

 

GROUP A

Team P W D L G A Points
Perak 4 3 1 0 6 3 10
Sabah 4 2 1 1 6 3 7
Kedah 4 1 1 2 6 7 4
Johor 4 0 1 3 5 10 1

Fixtures:   Kedah vs Sabah        and     Johor vs Perak

 
Perak will be securing a place to the knockout round by earning a single point against the table bottom Johor FA. Mathematically Johor still have the chance to survive if and only if they win both matches and Kedah win against Sabah and loses against Perak . Even after that, point of the three team will be tied at 7. Hence Johor need tp score many goal to overcome their -5 goal different at the moment.

 
The highlight match would be Kedah versus Sabah at Darulaman Stadium. Both teamshave clear chance to secure the second place. However, it will beneficial for Kedah to score plenty as thier goal difference now is -1.Sabah won against Kedah at home, where the Northerners blamed the heavy travelling fixture . This would be a perfect chance for revenge.

 

 

GROUP B

Team P W D L G A Points
Negri Sembilan 4 3 0 1 8 3 9
Terengganu 4 3 0 1 7 3 9
Selangor PKNS 4 2 0 2 6 5 6
KL Sime Darby 4 0 0 4 0 10 0

Fixtures:   Selangor PKNS vs Terengganu  and   Sime Darby vs  Negeri Sembilan

 

With Sime Darby is surely eliminited and PKNS is hanging on the cliff edge, this group most prebally will be decided in this round. Anything other than a lost for both Negri Sembilan and Terenganu will decide this group.

 

 

GROUP C

 

Team P W D L G A Points
Felda United FC 4 3 1 0 6 1 10
Kelantan 4 3 0 1 8 3 9
Johor FC 4 1 1 2 3 5 4
Sarawak 4 0 0 4 0 7 0

 

Fixtures : Johor FC vs Kelantan   and    Sarawak vs Felda United

 

Like Negeri Sembilan and Terenganu of Group B, both Felda United and Kelantan will only be needing a single point to advance. Felda will be having a easier task at Sarawak, since Sarawk is pointless and never even scores in 4 matches.After a hiccup against Felda, Kelantan might be looking to resume thier winning mentality against Johor FC.

 

 

 

GROUP D

Team P W L G A Points
Terengganu T-Team 4 3 0 1 8 3 9
Kuala Lumpur 4 2 2 0 5 1 8
Selangor 4 1 1 2 3 3 4
Police 4 0 1 3 0 9 1

Fixtures : PDRM FA vs Selangor  and    T-Team vs Kuala Lumpur

With PDRM is surely out of the competition, all three teams in this group have the chance of moving on to the next round. However third placed Selangor have a mountain to climb and have to ecpect for either T=team or Kuala Lumpur to lose both of their remaining match. With K.Devan replaced by P.Maniam, Slengor have plenty to prove in this round.

It is lucky that the game against PDRM came at the right time. Despite manage to grab a point, the police force are yet to score a single goal in this tournament, and conceding 9. Still, the depend heavily on the result of the other match.

 

 

LIVE MATCH

Catch Johor FC versus Kelantan on  Astro Arena and T-Team versus Kuala Lumpur on TV1. All games will kick off at 845 except for the game at Stadium Kuching which will kick off early at 815.

A delayed match of PDRM versus Selangor will be shown on Astro Arena at 1030 that night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2011

Olympic Qualifier Analysis : Japan vs Malaysia

It is true that the Japanese are much more experienced in higher level football. It is true that the Japanese Under 23 team are Asian Games Gold medalist. It is also true that our team are less achievement, less experienced , and less talented to even stand tall alongside them.But that shouldn’t give us the reason to be satisfied despite the lost. One might say that a  2-0 lost away is considered a normal scoreline for any team. Even not an achievement, it is still not an embarrassment. Should the team be credited for that?Surely yes, but be reminded that it is all down to Khairul Fahmi who fought a losing battle to keep a clean sheet and failed despite a good form.

MALAYSIAN GAME PLAN

Malaysia’s approach is somehow weird. They started the game switching between  a 4-4-2 and  4-2-3-1  with Tamil Arasu dropping deep in between the wide midfielder to initiate the later formation. This supposed to provide a good balance between attack and defense. The two central midfielder often found themselves in plenty of space early on. They played defensive when needed to and provided cover for the front line in attack.  The wide midfielder stayed wide and became the main form of  attack for Malaysia. Mostly the ball was either played to the flanks or Izzaq Faris but all option failed miserably.

In defence, they tried to push Japanese players into their own half when in possession and when out of possession, they defended in number, using two rows of 4 spread out in their half. With 8 players in their own half and a deep defensive line, Malaysian’s defense should be, by right,  secured tight with having extra defenders two sweep out any loose balls.However this provided less chance for Malaysia to switch from attack to defense effectively. The only chance for them to rebuild their attack is when Khairul Fahmi took a goal kick or from Japanese fouls.

JAPANESE GAME PLAN

The Japanese came with a much more brave tactic, proving that the are the mighty Asians. They played a very fluid 4-3-3 with both full back moving wide and up the pitch. The interplay between their wingers and full backs were their main form of attack.  While their Full backs were busy moving forward, their skipper , defensive midfielder Yamamura Kazuya dropped deep between two center-backs to create a three man defend.

They rarely attack trough middle and exploited their the trickery and flairs of their wide players to score. They could change from side to side very effectively which made their attack very fluid. The Japanese also have enormous movement in the pitch and provided great support for each other.

FIRST HALF

Malaysia actually started the game pretty positive trying to penetrate to the midfield with arrays of passing and maintaining a  high line to prevent Japanese player to further involved in the match. However their lack of creativity and lack of movement off the ball saw their attacking moves were easily read and intercepted by their opponent. When the Japanese had the ball, Malaysian tried to flood their own half by defending in numbers.

Defending In Numbers

From my observation, Malaysia is the only team that defend in number at back  but still manage to leave enormous space for their opponents to exploit. They lacked the agility to pressure their opponents, and when they do press hard, they still leave and angle for the opponent to pass forward. This happened every single time Japanese were on attack. I couldn’t provide the interception rate by Malaysia, but i assure you, Malaysia rarely made any interception. This kept the Japanese in possession and danger to Malaysian back line.

The main problem is how the two rows of four was lined up. As usually used, four midfielder provided cover for their four defender. However, all the players was spread out wide. There were plenty of gap in between the Malaysian players. This created space for Japanese to dribble and easily available for a pass from their teammate.

It only took 50 seconds for Japan to create a clear cut chance which was saved heroically by Khairul Fahmi. The below figure shows  the positioning of Malaysian player upon the attack. The red marker marks their Center Backs, the blue the Side Backs and the black their Center Midfielders.

Look how disorganized they are. How the Center Back was easily dragged to the side of the pitch. This happened when Mahali Jasuli went forward to press the Japanese winger and left space for Japanese full back to overlap. This made Muslim Ahmad had to move wide for cover and hence, it broke the formation.Supposedly , playing defensive 4-4-2, the right midfielder, Wan Zack Haikal should take on the winger . When mistakes happened,  and the actual formation was broken, other players should quickly cover the area been broken. But notice how the two Central Midfielders stayed where they were and Fahdli Sas never looked to mark the only Japanese player in the box. They lost concentration in 5o seconds.

The First Goal

The Malaysian’s worst nightmare came to reality in the 10th minute.Great movement from the Blue Samurai saw Malaysian defender could only watch as the ball moved past Khairul Fahmi. It started from the ineffective pressing from the Malaysian side. The below figure shows the positioning of the midfielders prior to the goal.

Look how the 3 Malaysian midfielders (marked in Blue ) and the 3 Japanese Midfielders (marked in Red) is lined up. The Japanese is staying closer together forming a triangle in the midfield while Malaysian are forming a  line. Only two midfielders was covering three opponents midfielders in the middle. While Zack Haikal could have moved to the middle to provide numerical balance in the middle of the pitch, he stayed wide and just watched the goal unfold.

Anoher mistake is from the Tamil Arasu and Izzaq duo, where they pressed very ineffectively . When you are pressing someone, you should try to prevent him from doing a forward pass. However, Izzaq and Arasu, despite two of them pressuring a single Japanese player, they still managed to give space for a forward pass. Only few quick touches were needed to break the Malaysian Midfield and expose the vulnerable defend.

Izzaq Is No Safee Sali, Wan Zack Haikal a Flop

What differs a good player and a great player? It is their mental stability to remain calm at any given moments. Malaysians today showed that they are just good players. Despite having conceded, and played a positive game before the goal, Malaysia reverted back to negative football. It is as if they defending a 1-0 lead. They never looked or even tried to threaten the Japanese defend.

Wan Zack Haikal stole the limelight for being absolutely ridiculous and wasteful in the midfield. He neve managed to provide anything , even in defense. He often tried too hard while he could have just simply passed the ball back to Gurusamy or Mahali.

Another flop would be Izzaq. He were left isolated and given a target man role in order to bypass the Japanese Midfield and initiate counter attack. A tactic that is very familiar in the Malaysian first team, deploying Safee Sali as a target man. But the young striker failed to even received the ball comfortably. Each and every long ball targeted Izzaq was miss controlled, intercepted and dispossessed. Hence the first half ended with 13 shot to none for Malaysia.

SECOND HALF

Second half resumed better for Malaysia. They attempted to move forward and tried to create chance to level the score. Defensive wise, they were much more agile and prepared particularly Gurusamy and Shukor Jusoh. They hunted in packs and maintained a good distance between defensive line and each other.They charged earlier and let the Japanese less time with the ball in the center area.

However, the Japanese side also did some changes that helped Malaysian to get a  hold of the game. They changed to a 4-2-1-3 and both fullbacks remaining defensive. This Malaysian full backs to roam forward and provide width while the dew midfielder can move inwards to create chance on goal. The Japanese also played more carefully preserving their energy.

Malaysian Improvements

They off the ball movement for Malaysia improved for Malaysia.They could create strings of passes without being intercepted. With injured Wan Zack Haikal being replaced by Wan Kamaruddin, the right flank seems to look more lively.Mahali often linking up with Shukor and Wan Kamarudin to break free.

On the left, Fandi Othman moves inwards to play like a Support Striker and linking up well with Gurusamy and Zubir. In fact, Fandi Othman nearly scored but his failure to use his weaker foot wasted the best chance of the game for Malaysia. Voices of Malaysian player could be heard loudly indicating the increased level of communication, one that lacked in the first period.

Inconsistent Improvements

Though Malaysia started to play better , their improvement is seen fairly inconsistent. This might be the result of tiredness of Malaysian player. They were chasing the for a whole half, these reduction in performance is very much predictable. Particularly, the Left Back, Zubir Azmi getting slower and slower in time. It is questionable how Ong Swee Kim failed to notice this, or did he ignored just the man.

And they paid the price for their inconsistent as Japan scored they vital second to secure all 3 point. It started when Japan exlpoited the space left by tiring Zubir Azmi who was pushing forward. Zubir was very slow to track back, but luckily Fadhli Shas came to rescue. He delayed the Japanese attack and managed to call all Malaysian player back into their own half to defend. However his silly mistake of nullifying the offside line to keep Kensuke Nagai onside caused the second goal.

Above picture shows the positioning of Malaysian defend prior to the second goal.  Notice how Malaysia having 8 players in the penalty box couldn’t stop 5 Japanese attacking. The main source of error is the three players marked in red in the picture. Zubir,Fahdli Shas and Shukor Jusoh position in the box doing nothing. Though it was Fadhlis falut for putting Nagai onside, we should blame Shukor for placing himself wrongly in the box. With him standing very close to Fadhli Shas, it is an understandable reaction from Fadhli to drop a bit deep to maintain his distance with his midfielder.

CONCLUSION

The Malaysian team played a very different secind half and were better in after the period. They learned from the mistake and reacted accordingly. However their fitness level didnt permit them to stay consistent. But the question remains, will they learn anything from this match? They had plenty of friendlies abroad but still manage to show up unconvinced in Tosu. Playing amoung 22,000 fans who kept on chanting the whole 90minutes is hard, but great player don’t give excuse.

They were few notable performs to address. Gurusamy played good both as defensively and creating the attack. He placed good passes forward and did some great tackles to save the blush. Another good performance is from Fadhli Shas. Despite conceding  two goals and being at fault at the second, Fadhli was a better defender compared to Azmi.He was prepared all the time and cleared many loose balls . He placed himself well to be at the right place at the right time.

Now the task remains the same, to win at Syria. They are at the top of the table by goal difference  after winning 3-1 against Bahrain.Playing a tough match earlier on would be beneficial for Malaysian, as the  lesson learned would be useful for 5 matches to come.

September 21, 2011

The Devan Conspiracy

After two successful years at Selangor FA, manager-cum-coach K.Devan was relieved of his duties on mutual agreement. The 50 year old met the FAS board on Monday and handed his resignation request. FAS has declined to give any reason for his resignation , but its fair to believe that the pressure from fans and critics played  major role.

On the incident in their last Malaysian Cup match against T-Team, Devan and his boys saw verbal abuse from a group of Selangor supporters. Selangor lost the match after two late goals from T-Team denied Amri Yahya’s goal to secure victory for Selangor. With two match left and a mountain to climb, Selangor hope to claim the Malaysian Cup is fading.

Suprisingly, right after the match, a banner saying ” Devan Sila Letak Jawatan” (Devan Please resign) was lifted in the crowd. It is as if the fans were expecting for the worse and came prepared with a banner. K.Devan later claimed that the  person who started the abuse and came with the banner was hired to do so.

“I believe those who came with banners demanding for my resignation were hired to do so.”

“Some people are using this opportunity to get rid of me. Perhaps, they don’t like to see me in Selangor,”

“It’s a conspiracy. I don’t think this is the sentiment of the true Merah Kuning fans. These supposed fans came prepared with banners.” said Devan reacting to the incident. If it was truly a genuine reaction from the fans, then the loyalty and mentality of the fans should be question.

The pressure from the fans started to mount after Selangor failed to defend their Malaysian Super League title. K.Devan came to Selangor in 2009 and since, have lifted 5 trophies in total.  However last season, Selangor finished third, 4 points behind champions Kelantan. The reaction from the fans after a small hiccup is very surprising. This further supports Devan’s allegation that these incident are carefully drafted by certain people who want him out from Selangor.

The players were left devastated with the departure of their beloved coach. Selangor team captain, Amri Yahya that he left without informing the players of his resignation.

“We are upset and sad as he is a good coach. It is shocking as we were not informed until just now,” said Amri.

The responsibility to bounce back is now given to P.Maniam , the former assistant coach. The young coach who was shadowed by Devan now has the chance to resume Selangor’s  Mission 33, a campaign to win the Malaysian Cup for the 33th time. Maniam urges the fans for support. He then convinced the press that his style his different than Devan and already plan a number of changes for his side. Whether it was a smart move or not, could be seen in Selangor’s next game against PDRM.

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