Malaysia U18 has a chance to retain the trophy they won last year after they beat Indonesia in the knockout stage for the second year running in the AFF U18 Championship. Malaysia had to do it the hard way though, coming from 2-3 down to eventually win 4-3 in extra time.
Brad Maloney's boys took the lead twice in the match through Aiman Afif (19') and Luqman Hakim (54') with Beckham Putra (45') scoring in between for Indonesia. However the opponents stormed back into the match in the second half with quickfire goals from Fajar Rachman (80') and Salman Alfarid (82') to put the pressure back on Malaysia.
But the Young Tigers were not to be denied as Harith Haiqal scored the vital equaliser, slotting home from the penalty spot in the 84th minute to send the match into extra time. He will be a hero once again in extra time as his 99th minute goal proved to the difference.
"A very energetic and dramatic performance was on show. The commitment by all the players throughout the game is commendable. Credits to our young players. Congratulations and a big thank you to Brad and his coaching staff including Khan Hung Meng, Yong Wai Hwang and other team officials led by team manager and FAM exco, Dato’ Kamarul Ariffin Mohd Shahar for their efforts in Vietnam this past two weeks.
"I hope we will continue this momentum in the final on this coming Monday because as the defending champions, we should be fearless whether we face Australia or Myanmar, however it is important for the players to remain focused," Hamidin in his statement released on FAM's official Facebook page.
In the other semi-final, Australia edged out Myanmar to set up a tantalising final on Monday. Malaysia have already played Australia once in the tournament, winning 3-0 in the group stage which would put Maloney's team as the slight favourites ahead of the final.
Last year was Malaysia's only triumph in the tournament with Australia having won four previous editions. The final will kick-off at 8:30pm on Monday and will be shown live on Astro Arena.
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