Harimau Muda displayed a fearless performance against their vastly experienced opposition and secured their first points of the season after a hard-fought victory against Woodlands
|FROM WOODLANDS STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Harimau Muda travelled to Singapore for their first away game of the season at Woodlands Wellington, and the young side brought three points back to their den after a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
The game started brightly for the visitors as a diagonal ball from the middle in the 8th minute found Maxsius Musa, who got the better of Rosman Sulaiman before lifting the ball over an onrushing Ahmadulhaq Che Omar to break the deadlock.
The Malaysian side almost doubled their lead in the 21st minute as Shreen Tambi’s freekick cannoned off the crossbar. At the other end, Farizal Basri twisted and turned to make space for himself, eventually winning a corner.
In the 26th minute, a mistake by the Malaysian side’s defence saw Khalid Hamdaoui weave into the box but he shot straight at Ilham Amirullah.
Woodland’s next best chance came in the 39th minute when Osman Yusoff made a poor back-pass to his goalkeeper, who managed to get to the loose ball before Moon Soon Ho.
A rapid role reversal in the dying minutes of the first half saw Hamdaoui booked for a cynical challenge, before he was on the receiving end of a similar tackle that saw Azzizan Nordin go into the book.
After the break, the Young Tigers wasted no time in search of a second goal as Shreen’s 30-yard shot narrowly missed the target in the 48th minute.
Not wanting to be outplayed, Woodlands started a move of their own as Hamdaoui floated a ball behind the Harimau defence for Moon, who squared it for Farizal to hit a tame shot at Ilham.
Shahril Alias’s misjudged header on the hour mark fell to Akmal Ishak in the penalty box, but the Malaysian teenager dragged his shot wide.
Shahril’s game ended early when he was cautioned for a second time in the 70th minute,after a late challenge on Ilham, who had comfortably gathered the ball at a corner.
The home side then equalized against the run of play in the 74th minute as former Ajax man Hamdaoui latched on to a cross and belted the ball past the goalkeeper.
A calamitous mix-up in defence then cost the Rams in the 82nd minute, when Ahmadulhaq and Atsushi Shimono took each other out as they went for the same ball, leaving substitute Yazid Zaini with the simple task of slotting the loose ball into an empty net.
Woodlands almost replied immediately as Ilham let slip a ball, but Moon could only fire into the side netting.
Chang Jo Yoon then slipped and fell as he tried to get to Taufiq Rahmat’s through ball in the dying stages of the game, as Harimau Muda hung on for their first points of the season.