Friendly re-match | Malaysia 0 Manchester United 2
Rajagopal – time to ‘phone a friend’?
There were times I was struggling with myself and trying hard to remember that this is only a friendly re-match and one shouldn’t be really reading much into it. However, for a large period of the match I was kicking and shouting amuck as my frustration at our boys’ performance were getting a little too much to contain.
The condition in the stadium didn’t really help either. It was hot and humid despite occasional relief from the weak tropical evening breeze. On top of all that, I had to deal with seas of over-excited Manchester United fans. Although they were much smaller in number tonight in comparison to two days ago, they still manage to irk me as much as they did before.
Manchester United started with almost a change side from the last time though the same cannot be said about Rajagopal’s first team selection. Michael Owen who came on as a super-sub scoring a late winner for United last Saturday starts as Wayne Rooney sent to the bench.
It was proven to be a wise decision by Sir Alex Ferguson as the re-born striker once again showed his sharpness and goal-scoring instinct to net United’s second goal ten minutes into the match.
He was at the centre of the work-up to the goal when his clever pass released Zoran Tosic from the watch of inexperienced right back, Mazlizam Mohamad. As if he knew that our boys were jaded and tired, he then lose his marker to blast the ball into the top right corner when our centre-backs failed to deal with Tosic’s cross.
The English champions were definitely in a different universe to our boys. It felt like watching the Under-19s taking on under-9s team but you kept on hoping that miracle would creep in the way for the under-dogs like it did in the first match.
Amri Yahya was markedly quieter in comparison to the previous afternoon as well as Zaquan Razak who once again failed to add much in the offensive play of the team tonight. Despite flashing moments of near-brilliance, Amri Yahya was woeful and eventually replaced in the second half. Lightning did not strike twice after all.
S. Kunalan fends off Fletcher’s challenge
Photocredit Edward Chan
S. Kunalan did slightly better tonight as he found more space and freedom with the ball he craves when he moved into the centre of the field on occasions but failed to link up properly with Indraputra Mahayuddin to produce the goal that Harimau Malaya fans had hoped.
Indraputra Mahayuddin was defensively irresponsible and offensively ineffective throughout the match. Only after he was replaced by Khyril Muhaimeen and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha was introduced for Zaquan Razak did we see some effort in our boys to crack on United’s goal but it was a little too late to change the face of the game.
Perhaps our boys were still hung-over from the excitement of the first friendly but that cannot be an excuse to a vividly indifferent performance.
Would Rajagopal and FAM learn from this or would they let the money-grabber to have the say in our local football? Either way, only a selected few benefited from this re-match and it certainly wasn’t us nor our national squad in general.
I’d say bring back socialism.