Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

AFF Cup: Malaysia are South-East Asian champions

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 29, 2010

AFF Suzuki CupThe AFF Suzuki Cup final, second leg, was held in Indonesia’s capital of Djakarta today and for the hosts it proved to be too much of a difficult task to come back from the three goal deficit they had suffered in the first leg against Malaysia three days ago.

After a goalless first half there wasn’t much hope left among the home fans of a fightback and the fears were confirmed just nine minutes into the second half when the tournament’s top scorer, Mohd Safee Sali, opened the scoring getting his fifth goal of the competition and gave Malaysia a 4-0 aggregate lead. Indonesia did manage to pull two goals back in the last twenty minutes through Mohammed Masuha and Muhammed Ridwan but the home side left it too little, too late. Malaysia’s 4-2 aggregate win gives them their first ever title in this tournament.

WATCH SECOND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

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AFF Cup: Malaysia have one hand on the trophy

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 26, 2010

AFF Suzuki CupThe first leg of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup final was played today in Kuala Lumpur as both finalists Malaysia and Indonesia set out to win their maiden title in this tournament. However it seems that Malaysia will get their hands on the trophy following their 3-0 trouncing Indonesia. Following a goalless first half, the game came into life on the hour mark with Mohd Safee Sali opening the scoring for the hosts. Sali increased his tally in the 73rd minute to make the game 3-0, just five minutes after Ashari Shamshuddin had doubled the hosts’ advantage.

SEE MALAYSIA v INDONESIA HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

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AFF Suzuki Cup: Malaysia and Indonesia reach final

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 19, 2010
Malaysia

Malaysia have qualified for their first AFF Suzuki Cup final since 1996

Malaysia and Indonesia have qualified for the final of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, the tournament for south east Asian nations, after both teams overcame defending champions Vietnam and the Philippines in their respective semi-finals.

Malaysia held a 2-0 first leg lead going into their return fixture in Hanoi on Saturday as title holders Vietnam were desperate to reach their second consecutive final. Alas the game petered out into a goalless draw with the 40,000 crowd in the My Dinh stadium going home disappointed. The major talking point of a game few and far between in highlights was the 72nd minute red card shown to Vietnam’s Pham Thanh Luong who dived in the box following an attempt to gain the ball on a rare attack. Malaysia held on with ease to register a place in the final of this tournament for only the second time and will want to go one better than in their first appearance in the inaugural event in 1996 where they lost 1-0 to Thailand.

Cristian Gonzáles

Cristian Gonzáles is the tournament's top scorer

In the other semi-final Uruguay-born Cristian Gonzáles proved to be the decisive figure in both legs of Indonesia’s 2-0 aggregate victory over the Philippines. It was Gonzáles who scored the only goal in the first leg played on Thursday to give Indonesia a slender advantage going into today’s second leg match-up. Indonesia had him to thank yet again in the 43rd minute of the second leg with a stunning strike hit from 25 yards out, flying into the top right-hand corner, giving Philippines keeper Neil Etheridge no chance. Gonzáles is now the tournament’s top scorer with three goals and he will have a chance to cement his status in the two-legged final with Malaysia.

The first leg of the final takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on December 26th with the return fixture playing in Djakarta, Indonesia, three days later.

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AFF: Gonzáles gives Indonesia crucial one goal advantage

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 16, 2010

Cristian GonzálesA 32nd minute strike from Cristian Gonzáles was enough to give Indonesia a narrow 1-0 advantage in their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final, first leg match against the Philippines today in Djakarta.

The Philippines, who finished second behind Vietnam in Group B, were supposed to be at home in the first leg today but were told by the Executive Committee that they had inadequate stadia and, therefore, were told to play both legs of their semi-final against Group A winners Indonesia in their opponents’ country. So it was that both teams took to the field in the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in front of 70,000 spectators and, in a fairly open game, it was to be Uruguayan-born Gonzáles who would settle the contest. He capitalized upon some defensive uncertainly after Firman Utina’s long ball from deep inside the Philippines’ half reached his head on the angle of the six yard box. getting inbetween the visitors’ keeper Neil Etheridge and left-back Ray Jónsson. Despite having a free header Gonzáles almost missed the target; had the ball gone another metre to the left then he would’ve missed an open goal. Instead the ball hit the inside of the far post and went in much to the delight of the home crowd.

The Philippines did well to restrict the ‘de facto’ hosts of the game to one goal. This, after all, is the country’s first ever semi-final and they reached them having only conceded one goal in three games before today. If their defence can remain so resolute in the second leg then they might have a chance of upsetting the odds. However if the Indonesians can make the most of their ‘official’ home tie on Sunday then they should, as expected, reach the final. A fascinating clash awaits.

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AFF: Safee gives Malaysia two goal advantage over champions Vietnam

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 15, 2010

Mohd Safee SaliThe first leg of today’s semi-final between Malaysia and Vietnam was played today in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, the competition for south east Asian nations. Vietnam, defending champions from the most recent tournament in 2008, were away in their first leg match and they were to suffer as Malaysia took their chances and take a two goal lead to Vietnam in Saturday’s second leg.

The first half saw both teams have a couple of good chances in what was overall a tightly fought opening 45 minutes. The second half was a different story as the game opened up and the warning signs were already there for Vietnam before conceding their first goal as Malaysia’s Safee Sali had a goal disallowed after 55 minutes. Sadly for the champions they didn’t heed these signs as the same player would go on to score the first goal of the game just six minutes later, ghosting into the penalty box from a free-kick to guide the ball home with his head. With ten minutes left on the clock Safee would double the home side’s lead from close range. A shot from distance from Sadiq was parried by Vietnam keeper Tan Truong and turned home by Safee whose first two goals of the tournament helped to send the 80,000 capacity crowd in the Bukit Jalil stadium home happy.

The second leg of this semi-final will be played on Saturday at the National Stadium, Hanoi. The other semi-final between the Philippines and Indonesia will see both legs played in the Indonesian capital of Djakarta on the dates of December 16th and 19th. The Philippines cannot play either game at home due to inadequate stadiums not complying with tournament regulations.

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Asia: Champions Vietnam make it through to semi-finals

Posted in Asian Football, International Football by peterbein on December 8, 2010
Nguyễn Vũ Phong

Nguyen Vu Phong was on target for Vietnam in their 1-0 win over Singapore

The semi-final line-up is now complete following the conclusion of Group B in the AFF Suzuki Cup, the tournament for south east Asian nations, today. Defending champions Vietnam squeezed into first place following a narrow win over Singapore. As a result Singapore went out of the competition as the Philippines, thanks to their draw against Myanmar, got the point necessary to leapfrog them into second place.

Before the final round of Group B matches got under way Vietnam were in third place in the four team table, one point behind Singapore and the Philippines. Their third game against Singapore was a must-win game, otherwise the champions would be facing certain elimination in front of their home fans in the National Stadium in Hanoi. There was only one goal in the game with Vietnam striking in the 32nd minute of the contest after Nguyen Vu Phong scored following a classic piece of counter-attacking play emanating from a Singapore corner. The game wasn’t without further drama, however, as the host side were reduced to ten men midway through the second half after Trong Hoang was cautioned for a second bookable offence. Despite having superior numbers Singapore were unable to break Vietnamese resistance and it meant that the defending champions were going through to the semi-finals. The Philippines could’ve gone through as group winners but had to be content with second place instead following a goalless draw against Myanmar. The Philippines had plenty of chances to win the game but Myanmar, despite losing their previous two matches, held firm and managed to secure their one and only point of the competition.

The semi-final line-up is now known following today’s action. The semi-final matches are usually played over two legs on a home and away basis although the Philippines have been told that they will be unable to hold their first leg at home by the tournament committee as there are no stadiums of sufficent quality in the country to hold a game of that magnitude. Instead they will have to play either at a neutral venue or play both legs against Indonesia in their opponents’ country.

SEMI-FINAL DRAW (Team on left at home in first leg)

Malaysia (2nd Group A) v Vietnam (1st Group B)

Philippines (2B) v Indonesia (1A)

Asia: Indonesia and Malaysia qualify for AFF Cup semi-finals

Posted in Asian Football, International Football by peterbein on December 7, 2010
Bryan Robson

Bryan Robson saw his Thailand team crash out of the tournament

The AFF Suzuki Cup is almost at the business end of the tournament. Group A concluded today with Bryan Robson’s Thailand team going out of the competition having finished third in the group behind Malaysia and Indonesia.

Indonesia came top of the group at a canter having won all three of their group matches in the tournament’s opening stage. Having been runners-up in this competition on three occasions many feel that Indonesia might fancy their chances of finally getting their hands on the trophy this time around following three very good displays. In their opening match they disposed of fellow group qualifiers Malaysia by five goals to one, then defeated Laos by an easy 6-0 scoreline. In today’s game Thailand needed to win to have any hope of progressing to the semi-finals and their hopes were aided when Suree Sukha gave them a 66th minute lead. But the Indonesians came from behind with two goals in the final ten minutes of the game, both of which, scored by Bambang Pamungkas,came from the penalty spot.

The semi-finals will be played on a home and away basis from December 15-19.

Thailand’s defeat meant that Malaysia could leapfrog them into second spot in the group with a win against whipping boys Laos and this duly happened. Malaysia put five goals past a hapless Laos with just one goal in reply which meant that Malaysia finished five points behind the group leaders and two ahead of Thailand. Both Indonesia and Malaysia will find out tomorrow who their semi-final opponents will be as there are three teams – Philippines, Singapore and defending champions Vietnam – who are fighting it out for the two semi-final places in Group B.

Asia: Can Vietnam regain the AFF Cup?

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on November 30, 2010

AFF Cup LogoThe 8th edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup will take place from December 1st-29th. The tournament is in its 14th year and is held, for the most part, every two years for nations in the South East Asia region. Record champions Thailand and Singapore, with three tournament wins each, have been kept apart in the group stage with matches being held jointly in Indonesia and Vietnam. Surprise outfit Vietnam is the defending champion having beaten Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the 2008 final and they will hope to regain the title but it will not be easy. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog previews this year’s competition:

GROUP A

Joint hosts Indonesia are hoping to win the tournament for the first time in the nation’s history and should they be able to accomplish that with a side entirely made up of domestically-based players then it will prove a great achievement for Austrian coach Alfred Riedl, who has just taken charge of the team in recent months. Another coach hoping to prove his mettle in this tournament is Bryan Robson who has to weigh up all kinds of expectations on his shoulders. Three-times winners of this tournament, Thailand have one of the strongest squads in the competition and will hope that someone of Robson’s calibre can steer them to the prize following their shock defeat to Vietnam two years ago. Malaysia made it to the semi-finals in 2007 which remains a tournament best following their elimination at the group stage just one year later. Laos are very much the whipping boys of the group as their last victory in this tournament came in the 2004 edition.

Current FIFA World Rankings: Thailand 114; Indonesia 135; Malaysia 150; Laos 171

GROUP B

Defending champions and joint-hosts Vietnam are an improving force in south east Asian football having won the 2008 AFF Cup against Singapore. Under the stewardship of Portuguese coach Henrique Calisto, who has been a pivotal figure in Vietnamese football since 2001, Vietnam knocked out Singapore out at the semi-final stage in 2008 so this tournament gives the latter the opportunity to get revenge and set them on thier way to a fourth AFF Cup title. Under Serbian coach Radojko Avramovic Singapore has won this tournament on two occasions in 2004 and 2007 with a limited squad and his achievements have put him in the bracket as one of the region’s most successful coaches. These two countries are expected to secure the two semi-final places available via this group as their other group opponents, Myanmar and Philippines, are expected to fight against the wooden spoon. Myanmar finished behind Indonesia and Singapore in 2008 but did have the consolation of beating Cambodia to finish third in the group. The Philippines didn’t even qualify for the 2008 tournament and have failed to progress to the knockout stage in each tournament that they have entered.

Current FIFA World Rankings: Singapore 138; Vietnam 139; Myanmar 144; Philippines 151

Vietnam AFF Cup 2008

Can Vietnam regain the title they won in 2008?

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