Friday, June 24, 2011

Pre-Olympics 2012 Qualifiers: Malaysia edge favourite Lebanon to clinch top 12 team

Malaysia 2 - Lebanon 1.

The scoreline look very surprising especially to the East West nation. Malaysian prove to the Asian that they are the team to be watched out when the Malaysian will be among the top 12 teams to be drawn in the final round of the Asian Olympic qualifiers.

Ten-man Malaysia advanced to the final round of the Asian Olympic qualifiers (last 12) through the skin of their teeth after edging Lebanon 2-1 on aggregate at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.

It was a gallant performance indeed by Ong Kim Swee’s boys after they had held the seeded Lebanese side to a goalless draw in the second round, first-leg match in Beirut on Sunday. Mohd Irfan Fazail opened the scoring for Malaysia in the ninth minute before Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor doubled the advantage with a cool finish in the 42nd minute. Chadi Atie reduced the deficit for the visitors in the 64th minute.

Sheer joy: Mohd Irfan Fazail (second from left) is surrounded by his team-mates after scoring Malaysia’s first goal against Lebanon at the National Stadium yesterday.

The group winners qualify for the London Games. The second-placed teams will then play off at a centralised venue from March 25-29 and the winner will face an African side for a place in the Olympics.
For the record, Malaysia have only qualified twice for the Olympics – in 1972 (Munich) and 1980 (Moscow).

The draw for the final round will be held on July 7.

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