Kamaliah treble fires Young Women to Challenge Cup glory

The striker struck a superb hat-trick to seal triumph for her team as they swept to a 4-1 victory over debutants H2O/ITE Dream Team in the final
A physically superior Young Women side claimed the 2013 FAS Women's Challenge Cup in style on Sunday night as they romped to a 4-1 win over H2O/ITE Dream Team.

Led by hat-trick heroine Kamaliah Hashim, the red-clad girls put in a swashbuckling performance to land the trophy in front of an approximately 300-strong crowd at Bukit Gombak Stadium.

It took only two minutes for the vociferous crowd to witness a goal, the Young Women earning a penalty that Noor Fatin Afiqah Aziz tucked away with consummate ease to give them an early lead.

They started to dominate exchanges even in the early stages and should have extended their lead when Lim Li Xian's free-kick found an unmarked Kamaliah in the 16th minute, only for her to stab a close-range effort against the bar.

Dream Team then grabbed the equaliser against the run of play in the 23rd minute. Captain Nuriah Noor raced on to a through ball and outpaced her markers, before coolly finishing past onrushing goalkeeper Kusumawati Rosman to draw her team level.

Just three minutes later, the Young Women retook the lead as the Kamaliah show began. Running on to a superb cross from Fatin Aziz on the right, the 22-year-old easily nodded it into the net to make it 2-1.

It took a while for both sides to settle after they re-emerged from the break, with Young Women needing left winger Nurhidayah Majid to bail Kusumawati out with a superb saving tackle after an ill-advised charge from the goalkeeper saw her miss a long punt.

Ida Franzen Nanger came within a whisker of giving Dream Team the equaliser in the 71st minute as she spun superbly in the box, only to fire a snapshot just wide of the near post.

That miss proved costly, with the superior fitness of the Young Women players having already started to effect the game as the half wore on.

With 77 minutes on the clock, Kamaliah took advantage of a poor defensive header to slam home from eight yards as the wave of Young Women attacks finally paid off.

The coup de grace came nine minutes later, the forward curling a glorious 35-yard free-kick into the top corner to seal her treble and her team's victory.

Despite defeat, Dream Team coach Sreenivasan Selvakumar still wore a smile on his face as he explained to the media how proud he was of his girls, with the team only having been formed earlier this year.

"A lot of girls are in the midst of their exams but no complaints about the game, I think we put up a good show," he beamed.

"I am very pleased with the progress; we formed up in September and we are in the final, I thought we gave them a good fight, it was not a walkover and they didn't run through us easily."

Young Women coach Hisham Roslan hailed his team's victory, saying that it was a perfect "present" for the girls.

Amidst the jubilant scenes after her team was presented with the trophy, Young Women star Kamaliah told Goal Singapore about her joy, having come in third last year and lost two other finals in recent years.

"I am very proud of my team and I believe it's not just about me, it's all about every individual's effort and I am really proud of my team right now," she said.

"This really means a lot to us because I believe both teams wanted to win and it's just about the effort and hard work [on our part]."

Kamaliah, who is nominated in the Women's Player of the Year category for the Goal Singapore Football Awards, also finished as joint-top scorer with seven goals alongside team-mate Fatin Aziz and Arion FA's Chris Yip-Au.


Young Women: Kusumawati Rosman (C); Nur Izyani Noorghani, Aniqah Azman, Lee Lai Kuan, Roszieve Roslan; Lim Li Xian (Nabilah Latiff 84'), Azima Ahmad (Nabilah Razali 88'), Nurul Khairiah Azhar, Nurhidayah Majid (Sitianiwati Rosielin 67'); Noor Fatin Afiqah Aziz (Kalishna Veary 86'), Kamaliah Hashim.

Unused substitues: Sabrina Jamil, Hui Min, Eunice Ong, Marilyn Tan, Farah Aqilah, Anne Marie, Erlinawaty Dewi, Azreena Ma'at, Sabrina Mathe.

Dream Team: Beatrice Tan; Vivian Eng (Ashmeera Shasha 58'), Sharda Parvin, Nadya Zah (Amrit Kaur 63'), Mainisah Buang (Sarah See 84'); Nuriah Noor (C), Nurjannah Jamalludin, Ernie Sulastri (Natasha Lopez 87'), Saisha Moyce (Nur Azureen 63'); Solveig Skogan, Ida Franzen Nanger (Suria Priya 79').

Unused substitutes: Shafira Zailani.