Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Futsal Championship Invitational 2014 > Malaysia claim title with inspired performance

Malaysia claim title with inspired performance

“First of all I’m speechless because it was a very tough game,” The manager of the Asian Football Confederation side Mahadi Mohd Yussof shared following the final whistle.
“It was a very difficult game because they had the crowd behind them. I have to congratulate my player because they showed that they are mentally strong. I think with the crowd here we could have easily been beaten.”
Mohd Yussof says the overall performances from each member of the team was outstanding and a credit to the hard work they’ve been doing.
“They played according to what they were asked to do, they organised the play and the most important thing was how they organised the play. They did a very good job today.
Malaysia were made to work hard for the title by a tidy New Caledonia side who had the full backing of the home crowd. With everything riding on their result, both sides came out with a point to prove. New Caledonia’s last outing in Oceania saw them come a lowly last, while Malaysia had been forced to settle for second.
After having a series of shots stopped New Caledonia finally took the advantage seven minutes into the match when Malik Paulin played up to a solo Eric Saihuliwa who turned as he tapped in off the post.
Malaysia launched several counter attacks but it was New Caledonia who continued to dominate as they hoped to find a comfortable cushion. Unfortunately it didn’t come in time as Malaysia’s top scorers Shamsul Zamri and Asmie Zahari combined with the latter smashing into the roof of the net.
They extended their lead with three minutes remaining before the break as Aula Ahmad made a fantastic overlapping run up the left before smashing past a helpless Ronan Euzen. The hurt wasn’t over for New Caledonia as a third goal was knocked in by Nizam Ali.
The fourth goal was stinging for Euzen who had been outstanding for the team as a calming, but reliable force at the back. His attempt to clear from inside the area was sent straight at Fariq Mohammad and back into the net behind him.
Not a side that gives up lightly, New Caledonia battled back to make it 4-2 at the half-mark as Romain Guitton was finally rewarded for a whole lot of hussle. New Caledonia again narrowed the gap moments later as captain Ivann Pourouoro wove his way through the centre of the court, laid out wide to Jess Poarairoua who smashed home.
Shamsul Zamri converted a cross from Fitri Yatim with less than four minutes on the clock before Malaysia rounded out their tally with Mohammad claiming his second goal of the evening.
For New Caledonia it wasn’t the finish they had hoped for but having already surpassed their expectations they weren’t too disappointed in the final result – especially after a performance that saw them comeback to within a goal of their first regional futsal title.
“I think we have had a magnificent tournament,” coach William Bret says.
“We’ve had three months of preparation, and when I see other teams that have been working much longer than us, I take great pleasure in what we have accomplished – finishing as the top Oceania team of the tournament in second place.
“We are really happy, the people have been fantastic – we’ve had support like you wouldn’t believe.”
Bret says while they haven’t spent a lot of time together, each member of the team has done an amazing amount of work.
“We’ve worked hard. But technically and tactically we have a lot more work to do as we saw. I think that everyone understands that we have done a lot of work on the court to score, to win, and they respect that.”
Looking ahead to the next stage of development Bret says the team will continue building towards the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers in 2015.
“In 2015 we will qualify for the World Cup as we’re first in Oceania following this tournament and there isn’t a better reason than that.”
In the earlier match New Zealand took on Tahiti in a match that could have had a heavy influence on how the tournament played out.
Sitting on six points, one behind leaders New Caledonia and equal with Malaysia but with a better goal difference, New Zealand went into the match confident they had a side which could topple what had been a relatively underwhelming Tahiti.
But with national pride on the line there was no chance Tahiti were going to roll over for the Futsal Whites making it a disappointing finish to what has been one of the most inspiring series of performances from the tight-knit Kiwi side.
“I’m happy with the performance absolutely,” assistant coach Felipe di Marchi Bernardi says.
“Despite the result – 2-0 – the goal was not to concede and for the most part we did that and in fact it was one of the best games I have seen the boys play.
“Defensively we were strong, we were really tight so I was really happy and when the first goal, a shot on the left, came in and scored it changed the whole game.”
With defending the strongest point in the New Zealand game, they came out cautiously with a lean towards keeping possession and countering quickly. But with Tahiti of a similar ilk they were forced out of their comfort zone at times as Tahiti applied an enormous amount of pressure from the outset with some thrilling transitions.
The shots flew back and forth, with the New Zealand keeper Elias Billeh in the first half, and Atta Elayyan in overdrive as he blocked shots from all over the court.
Tahiti finally got their break when the unrelenting Teaonui Tehau fired a blinder past Elayyah from close range in the last ten minutes of the second half. New Zealand adopted the fifth man approach that they had practiced in training, with Daniel Burns charged with covering the back as well as aiding the attack.
Three outright chances presented themselves while New Zealand adopted this tactic and they were unfortunate they didn’t pay off. However to add salt to the wounds, Tahiti’s top goal scorer and all around playmaker Smith Tino drove a powerful shot past Billeh with just over a minute remaining in the match.
To finish on a positive note was a good morale boost for the charges of Tahiti coach Heitapu Hunter.
“Everything about this tournament has been very positive for us. I think I brought six youths – 18-19 year olds and even a 17-year-old, and it’s their first international tournament. I thought maybe it would be too hard, but an objective was to put them in at least one match so they would be aware that they are strong enough to win a match in Oceania.”
In the individual awards it was difficult to separate the top performers with so many players having made an impact on the competition.
The easiest awards were the Golden Boot and Fairplay with the five goals scored by Malaysia’s Shamsul Zamri earning him the honours, while New Zealand were awarded for their Fairplay.
The Golden Gloves went to New Zealand’s two goalkeepers Atta Elayyan and Elias Billeh who shared duties for the duration of the competition.
The coveted Golden Ball went to two stars in opposing Francophone teams. Tahiti’s Smith Tino shares the prize with New Caledonia captain Ivann Pourouoro.

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