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No way a potential gold-medal match
17th Southeast Asian Games
     


Why either team would want to concede vital team tactics to one another at this late a stage is difficult to comprehend.


Not surprisingly, it was a match which nobody wanted to win. The fact that the match took place itself was more surprising, especially as the Malaysian squad had arrived barely an hour earlier by train. What was also surprising was the scoreline - a timid 2-1 result in favour of the Malaysians against Singapore at the Delta Sports Complex.

The 80 spectators must have gone home wondering if the tie between long time arch-rivals Malaysia and Singapore served a purpose at all.

Another reason why eyebrows were raised was that with only three teams in the South-east Asian Games competition, the gold medal is almost certainly decided between these two teams as Indonesia is not expected to pose a serious threat.

Why either team would want to concede vital team tactics to one another at this late a stage is difficult to comprehend.

And yesterday's friendly was, however, friendly in more ways than one.

Malaysia and Singapore coaches, Terry Walsh and Graeme Worth respectively, were seen chatting before the start of the game.

And despite years of rivalry on the pitch, the Singapore players and their Malaysian counterparts shook hands and welcomed each other like old friends.

"The objective of the match was to allow our boys to play fast and think fast as everything will happen very quickly," reasoned Worth.

The other objective - for the two teams to judge each other's weaknesses - was never accomplished as the teams played at a leisurely pace.


"The objective of the match was to allow our boys to play fast and think fast as everything will happen very quickly," reasoned Graeme Worth..



Even the Indonesian squad, which was present, was wasting precious time, failing to gather any pointers and went home disappointed.

Said Worth: "We wanted to try different things like running at full pace. I believe Malaysia was doing the same.*

For the record, Mirnawan Manawi gave the visitor a 1-0 lead which striker Edwin Tan of Singapore Recreation Club nullified when he netted the Republic's equaliser.

Brian Siva settled the issue by notching the deciding goal. Despite several attacks from both teams, an additional goal was not forthcoming.

Not surprisingly, with both teams failing to exert themselves, there were no casualties. And it would be surprising if both teams repeated such a display in their competitive tie.
     

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