An absolutely stunning goal from ATM’s K.Reuben proved enough for Ong Kim Swee’s boys to take home the invitational tournament’s trophy
K.Reuben became the toast of his teammates when his first half pile-driver helped Harimau Muda win the inaugural SCTV Cup at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
The ATM midfielder, who hails from Petaling Jaya was outstanding throughout the match in his role as a make-shift right-back and settled the match with a gem of a goal in the 43rd minute.
Playing on a pitch that resembled a paddy field, Malaysia took control of the possession early on and played some neat passing football with nippy winger Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria impressing.
Indonesia slowly came into the game after ten minutes, but played mainly on the counter without giving the Nik Mohd Shahrul led Malaysian back-line much problem.
26 minutes in, Malaysia had their first proper attempt on target through a Thamil Arasu header that was comfortably caught by Indonesian goalkeeper, Aji Saka.
Aji’s Malaysian counterpart, Izham Tarmizi, on the other hand was a bundle of nerves and did not look too comfortable with either his hands or feet.
The Indonesian coach probably saw this as a weakness and made a very early tactical move to exploit it by sending in lanky striker Abdul Rahman, for Riyanto in the 33rd minute.
Three minutes later, the hosts were denied what looked like a clear penalty when the referee failed to spot Nazirul Naim’s foul on Hendra Bayaw in the area.
Malaysia then took the lead through Reuben, who let fly an unstoppable shot from the right edge of the penalty box, two minutes before the first half ended.
Indonesia started the second half strongly as they went in search of the equalizer but were let down by their lack of composure in front of the goal. The Young Garudas showed their inexperience with constant snatching at chances when presented with them.
The Malaysians looked unperturbed nonetheless and seemed happy to sit on their lead and let their neighbours dictate play while relying on counter-attacks to double the lead.
This tactic almost paid off in the 81st minute when a swift break left D.Saarvindran with only Aji to beat but the 19-year-old sent his shot behind the goal instead.
That miss proved to be the last notable action of the game as the Indonesian players began to tire towards the end and looked devoid of any creative spark to trouble the Malaysians, leaving the visitors to return home with the trophy safely in the bag.