Sunday, July 31, 2011

98 MINUTES

On Thursday night, men clad in red and blue dotted the green field of Bukit Jalil, their sole purpose to be in possession of an elusive ball, just so that they can :

i. Score a goal and defeat the other team
ii. Keep it in possession so that the other team doesn't score.

I don't really watch much sports, because I think it's much better if you go out and play the sports yourself, so my sitting in front of the TV hugging a cushion on Thursday night waiting in anticipation for the Malaysia vs *Singapore FIFA World Cup Qualifying Round was surprising even to me. I suppose I got influenced by my colleagues who actually left the workplace that evening clad in the Malaysian team colours headed straight to the stadium. Throughout the day, I kept hearing snippets of conversation about the match later that day, and rightly so, as compared to just three years ago, the Malaysian team had improved tremendously. So much so that at the end of last year when we won a rather important match (the Suzuki Cup, I think), the PM actually declared a public holiday!! Seriously.

The match began rather slowly at first, without any goals scored during the first half, although the Singaporean team did a good deal of attacking, attempting to score goals as I stared open mouthed as the Malaysian goal keeper saved goal after goal. Our defence was in shambles. No, actually, our defence was practically non-existent. So naturally for me (and most other Malaysians), the hero of the day was the goal keeper. He was awesome.

The second half saw Malaysia scoring the first goal for the match. I got excited at that point and actually screamed 'goal'! Alas! The second half also saw Singapore score a goal (no thanks to the defence once again) which sort of dashed our hopes on moving onwards to the third round, as we had lost to them 3-5 in the first match held in Singapore on the 23rd, which was also a pretty good match (I only watched the 2nd half of that match, though)

Whilst the Malaysian defence sucked, the Singaporean players took turns in dramatically falling down and extreme displays of exaggerated injuries you'd think they were made of glass instead of flesh and blood. There was a time when the Singaporean goal keeper thought he was a zombie and kept clutching his head as though it was about to fall off. So much drama and game time wasted. In the end, the referees decided to give only 8 minutes of extra (injury) time, 3 minutes after the first half and 5 minutes after the second half.

* They might be known as the Singaporean team, but some of the players are only Singaporeans because of football. There are two former Chinese nationals, and three more from Europe.

The game highlights: Check out the saves by the goalkeeper.

6 comments:

  1. I'm not much into football these days but I think a national team should consist of locals and not imports. Kudos to Malaysia all the same on a gritty display.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yup... me too. I think Malaysia did quite well... although they've seriously got to work on their defending skills.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't believe we didn't leave you a tradition of playing cricket in Malaysia. That would have been a better legacy than football.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I heard about Malaysia's bad defense too. While I didn't watch the match, I could hear shouts from the mamak near my place - it got so loud at one point that I thought we had won.

    But I guess as Nick says, kudos to the team as they have come a long way.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Somehow I managed to make it to adulthood without ever finding a single sport I liked to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  6. King Of Scurf: Yeah, I'm surprised cricket never became popular here.

    sriyani: Ha ha... we didn't win, but hopefully we'll get better in time.

    SAW: I'm sure that leaves you with much more interesting things to do...

    ReplyDelete