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AFF Suzuki Cup : Vindicated at least for now for Coach Raddy

Coach Raddy is aiming his hat-trick of Asean supremacy
One would have felt that coach Raddy Avramovic is vindicated after taking a 3-1 advantage over hot favourites Thailand in the AFF Suzuki Cup final first-leg match (at least for now with the second leg is due this coming weekend).

Tasked with the enforcer role in the middle of the park by the Serbian tactician, both Fahrudin Mustafic and Isa Halim combined well to shackle the creativity of Datsakorn Thonglao who has been instrumental in the War Elephants' unbeaten run in the tournament.

"Farra" (15) and Isa (center) - key Lions midfield enforcers
Despite having to retake the penalty after the referee's order to do so, the calm demeanor of "Farra" (as Mustafic is popularly known as) helped the hosts to take the one goal lead over the Thais by cooling placing the ball into the net and much to joy of those decked in red in the Jalan Besar Stadium in 9th minute.

To some critics, the Lions may not have played the most attractive football to reach to where they are (as opined by a fellow worker days ago after he saw a few matches), but what it matters most is the effectiveness to achieve the result at the end of the day.

Baihakki (red jersey) shoulders the job well amid a weaken backline 
Having saw the likes of Hariss Harun and Shi Jiayi out of the squad due to injury and family commitments during the early part of the campaign, it would only be a wise move to place much emphasis in strengthening the midfield of the team which both Fahrudin and Isa have been up to mark in carrying their duty.

The shackling and disrupting of opponents' rhythm has been a buffering factor in lessen the pressure being undertake by our defenders who we know at times are losing out in pace on the flanks and allowing the flow of play in the attacking side of our game that eventually saw Khairul Amri repeated his 2007 feat by stabbing a shot from close range off an Aleksandar Duric's cross from the left in 61st minute to regain the lead after Thailand levelled the scores two minutes earlier.

"Oops, I did it again" with Amri scored in the 61st minute 
With the "away-goals" regulations being a weighing factor in deciding the winners, it is crucial not to see the visitors gained an advantage like they did against the Malaysians in the other semi-finals a week ago.

So with Baihakki Khaizan's goal in the dying minutes that made it 3-1, it's more or less job completed although coach Raddy remain coy over popping the champagne at this moment, as he maintains the cautious approach for this Saturday returning leg in Bangkok.

While last but not least, we hope Shaiful Esah is ok after he suffered a knock at the back of his head that required urgent medical attention after the final whistle.



  1. It is understand that Shaiful is feeling better now and will be travelling with the team to Bangkok.

    While at the meantime, coach Raddy urged that everyone should show the same level of support for the team regardless of which opponents the Lions are facing in the post-match presser.


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