SEA Games 2011: Malaysia 4, Cambodia 1 – Winning When Playing Badly

I can hear all sorts of complaining from my fellow Malaysian fans. Thamil is blunt, Fakri can never score, Fakri should start the match, Fakri should keep his hair. Kim Swee should wear pink, like Azraai Khor. I’m sure they all have their own, valid reasons, to think of that. To have an opinion is only human.

Complaining is good.

It is good because that means you are THINKING while WATCHING FOOTBALL. If you go to a match and don’t have the slightest idea of what is going on on the pitch, then maybe you are a zombie. If you go to a match only to pick a fight, then you’re most probably a yob.

We are enthusiasts. Not yobs.

One header, one mistake from the opponent’s keeper, one penalty, and one beautiful curling shot. 4 goals.

I’m thankful for that.

A lot of people say that Malaysia should win by 10 goals. But for me, if Malaysia can play as badly as yesterday and still win by a 3 goals margin, then I’m happy. People also say that to win while playing badly is a sign of champions. I think that group of people is absolutely right.

The first half was a half where Cambodia looked like they were anticipating a Malaysian onslaught. Problem was, Malaysia too, played as if Cambodia would be doing the same to them. Izzaq did scored an exemplary targetman’s goal: running to receive Yong Kuong Yong’s cross from the right flank with a header. After that, it all went downhill. Luckily, Baddroll still wore his scoring boots, and with a speculative shot from distance, coupled with the Cambodia goalkeeper’s failure to anticipate a bounce, scored. Before the first half ended, Baddrol converted another penalty to take his toll to two, one shy of a hattrick.

He would have got that hattrick, until Thamil felt that he should cut into Baddrol’s run and waste a glorious one-on-one with the Cambodian keeper. This happened after Cambodia scored a deserved goal from counter attack, when Malaysia upped the tempo in the second half. It seemed that Cambodia’s only chance of scoring in this match was from counter attacks. I could not help but think that if Malaysia had played too adventurously in the first half, we might have been trailing to Cambodia: like Singapore did. Suddenly, Malaysia’s decision to play cautiously in the first half doesn’t look too wrong, does it?

Wan Zaharulnizam scored a beautiful final goal almost angrily, as if he was frustrated with either Cambodia’s resistence, or with his own team mates’ efforts. But I have no complaints even if he scored an ugly goal.

I believe in ugly goals. I believe in ugly wins.

Care to join me for a drink? Ultraman always does an ugly job at fighting. He wins anyway.

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