Hodak’s boys march into final
NOBODY gave Malaysia a chance, but Bojan Hodak’s side defied the odds to reach the final of the AFF Under-18 Championship at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon yesterday.
Following a tight 0-0 draw in regulation time, Malaysia remained composed as they edged Myanmar 5-4 on penalty kicks to make their first appearance in 10 years in the final of the tournament.
Malaysia have never won the tournament, finishing second on four occasions.
Malaysia will play last year’s runners-up Thailand, who beat Indonesia 3-2 on penalty kicks, in the final tomorrow.
“We only assembled two weeks before the tournament, and today we have reached the final,” said a delighted Hodak.
“What a day for us. It was difficult playing in front of a packed stadium, but my boys played without pressure for the win.”
Hodak’s boys and Myanmar played enterprising football throughout the 90 minutes with both teams having decent chances to score goals.
Goalkeeper Azri Abd Ghani denied Myanmar their second attempt from the spot but Ammar Akhmall Alias failed to convert Malaysia’s fifth spot kick to force the penalty shoot-out into sudden-death.
Azri saved Myanmar’s sixth attempt, while captain Syaiful Alias netted from the spot to send Malaysia into the final.