Naypyitaw: Malaysia enjoyed a massive fillip ahead of the forthcoming AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers by defeating Indonesia 3-2 on penalties to win the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) U-16 Championship.
“I have to thank Lim Kim Chon (the former FA of Malaysia Technical Director) for hiring me for this position but the win was really the effort of the boys as they played real hard for the victory, said Malaysia coach S. Balachandran, who will now turn his focus to the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers where Malaysia will face Group H hosts Laos – who they defeated 4-1 on route to taking the ASEAN title – Korea Republic, Brunei and Guam.
Malaysia keeper Mohd. Haziq Nazli was the hero for his side by converting the winning penalty as the shootout moved into sudden death after Gatot Wahyudi had missed his spot-kick with the score at 2-2.
Gatot’s composed first-half finish had given Indonesia a 1-0 lead in regulation time and just as it was looking like his 28th minute strike would be enough for the win Muhammad Shahrul Adnan kept his cool to equalize with a 89th minute penalty to send the final into a shootout.
“It was always 50-50 in penalties, but there is no shame in the loss today,” Indonesian coach Mundari Karya told the official AFF website.
“The boys raised the level of their game in this championship and they can do only better in the AFC qualifiers.”
Indonesia are in Group J of the continental qualifiers where they will renew acquaintances with a Philippines side they defeated 2-0 in Myanmar, Japan and regional rivals Vietnam, who finished fourth at the AFF U-16 Championship following a 7-6 penalty shootout loss to Australia.
The Joeys are also in the qualifying campaign for the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship and are in Group G with Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Macau for company.
AFC U-16 qualifying action starts on September 21 with the ten group winners and five best runners-up joining hosts Thailand in next year’s finals.