GOAL-LESS DRAW ENSURES MALAYSIA’S PROGERSS – Sloppy Pakistan fail to make the cut against Malaysia


LAHORE – Malaysia survived nearly half-a-dozen goal attempts by the Pakistan forwards to pull out a draw which ensured their entry into the next round of the 2012 Olympics Football Qualifiers at the Punjab Stadium here on Wednesday.
By the time the final whistle was blown at the 8000-capacity Punjab Stadium, it was the Pakistanis who were ruing the missed chances and the visiting Malaysians were happy to carve out the goalless draw to bank on the first-leg win they earned in home tie. They now move to the next round with their 2-0 aggregate goal margin.
Had Pakistan achieved half of the chances, they would have been the ones to have been playing the next round.
Both the teams entered the field in traditional FIFA style and with the first whistle of the match, it seemed that Malaysia would rip apart Pakistan with their dominance and control. But with the passage of time, Pakistan started to cover up the distance and got control of the proceedings. Pakistan required a 3-0 win and they had their chances but their forwards and midfielders Jadeed Khan, Mohammad Adil, Kaleemullah, Rizwan Asif and on certain occasions Faisal Iqbal failed to deliver the finishing touch.
Malaysia got a couple of opportunities but the Pakistan defence kept them at bay and the hero of the day was goalie Amer Gul who defied the Malaysian forwards with determination. The first sure opportunity came knocking when in the 16th minute Rizwan went off target despite beating Malaysian goal-keeper Khairul Fahmi.
Although Pakistan striker Rizwean missed the goal but he was a class act in the field and was unable to handle. In the 23rd minute Rizwan crossed the ball in front of the net but Jadeed miscued and later in the 27th minute, Jadeed missed after solo effort at a time when no one was around.
With every Pakistan attack, Malaysians got more and more defensive and were in pressure but Pakistan could not find any openings. It was for the first time Pakistan played with a three-four-three combination and their game was far superior to their Malaysian rivals but the visiting team was aware of the fact that even a draw would earn them a place in the next round and when they understood that they won’t be able to score, they went into defensive to rely on their first leg win at home.
A handful of Malaysian fans attired in yellow clothes held their national flag. Also present on the occasion was members of the Malaysia embassy, who flew to the city particularly for the match.