BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Whenever Malaysia meets Singapore in a football game, the rivalry comes to the fore. So when the Causeway Derby makes an appearance in the semi-final of the2015 Bangabandhu Gold Cup, both teams were raring to put one over their rivals.
Despite the tendency of both teams to play with a more possession and passing type of football, it was very difficult to execute on a very poor and bumpy pitch. Neither Malaysia nor Singapore got going in the first half. Plenty of passing went astray as players struggled to cope with the bounce of the ball.
That said the Young Tigers did get a few opportunities in the first half to open the scoring. First, in the 13th minute, Muhamad Faizat muffed his shot after Singapore’s defence failed to clear their lines. Then in the 27th minute, from a freekick, Adam Nor did not find enough curl on his shot to beat Mohamed Rudy in Singapore’s goal.
The second half was a much better affair and it wasn’t long before Malaysia took the lead. Muhammad Syazwan had only just missed the near post with his weaker right foot volley in the 49th minute but was soon celebrating with his team mates just a minute later. Kumaahran was put through and beat Aaravin in a test of pace before coolly slotting home the opener past Rudy.
It took the Young Lions until the 80th minute to put Malaysia’s keeper Farhan Abu Bakar in action. A seemingly innocuous free kick was heading over Farhan’s head and into the back of the net but Farhan just about managed to shuffle back to tip the ball over the bar. From the ensuing corner, Farhan came for the ball but was caught in no man’s land and breathe a sigh of relief when Naim Ishak’s header hit the post and went over.
That was the best Singapore could muster as the better team on the day won and will wait for the winner of the second semi-final between Thailand and Bangladesh. Coach, Razip Ismail will be pleased that his charges secured the win despite not being on top form today.