It was always going to be interesting as Ong Kim Swee's men headed into this tournament right after clinching the Merdeka Cup a week ago in Kuantan. But the team, which included names like Saarvindran and Thamil Arasu opened the game confidently. Persib Bandung, with a loud vocal backing were visibly more composed on the ball.
But Harimau Muda striked first blood when they opened the scoring through a terrific strike from D. Saarvindran. The young forward was impressive throughout the Merdeka Cup and here he was again, giving Harimau Muda the lead on the day. Two minutes later, they were awarded a corner kick. Syahrul Azwari curled one into the box, but Fadhli Shas' header was off target.
They kept pushing hard, but Persib Bandung always looked dangerous on the counter attack. Finally, the Indonesian outfit restored parity on the 28th minute mark, as Kenji Adachihara fired home to send the crown into raptures. The goal left Ong Kim Swee looking frustrated on the touchline, but the Young Tigers continued to fight.
Saarvindran had an effort saved by the Persib goalie before, Thamil Arasu's attempt went wide. The home side had their fair share of attacking moves as well, but were more than often stopped by the solid Fadhli Shas. They did have a free-kick attempt just before the break though, although it unfortunately rattled against the bar.
Despite both sides trying hard, the score line remained 1-1 at half time.
After the break, Ong Kim Swee opted to bring on the dynamic Kenny Palraj for Ariff Farhan. The tempo of the game remained balance as both sides continued pushing hard.
Irfan Fazail fired a free kick from outside the box on the, before Saarvindran missed another attempt by striking wide. But Persib Bandung finally took the lead on the 53rd minute mark, courtesy of a penalty from M. Ridwan, after Fadhli was deemed to have fouled the Persib forward.
But the lead lasted less than 10 minutes as Harimau Muda pegged one back on the 61st minute mark through Ridzuan Abdunloh, who had just came on minutes prior to that.
Abanda Herman could have given Persib the lead once again, but his header went beyond the crossbar on the 70th minute. Hilton's free kick five minutes later, was tipped away brilliantly by Izham Tarmizi as well.
Both sides kept fighting for the coveted winner, but despite having a flurry of half-chances towards the end, neither side could muster the pivotal strike that would have given them the victory. Thus the match ended 2-2, with Harimau Muda probably happy with their second half performances.