Thailand Triumphs over Mayasia in Sea Games Football Final
An own goal by 19 year old Malaysian goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli is all that seperated the teams as Thailand secured a 1-0 win in the Southeast Asian Games football final on Tuesday, puncturing the hosts’ celebrations as they finished on top of the medals table.
In a game that will haunt Nadzli, 19, the 39-minute event silenced 80,000 fans at the cavernous Shah Alam Stadium.
It proved to be the game’s sole goal and brought a tame end to another wildly successful day for Malaysia, who reached a record 140 gold medals to finish on top for the first time since 2001.
Nadzli was the fall guy but the Thais were well worth their 1-0 half-time lead after Chenrop Samphaodi curled a shot wide and Suriya Singhui saw a strong header saved by the goalkeeper.
Thailand also had an early penalty shot turned down and, just prior to the own goal, Phicha Au-Tra narrowly failed to connect with a cross which trickled across the face.
After the break, Worachit Kanitsribumphen was twice denied by last-ditch defending from the Malaysians, while Sasalak saw a menacing shot go wide.
Malaysia was restricted to the odd attempt from afar before Danial Amier fizzed one over and Syazwan Andik went close with a curling shot 12 minutes before the end.
Hosts with the most
The men’s football final was the last act of a bumper penultimate day, with 60 gold medals up for grabs and Malaysia taking 29 of them to reach 140 for the tournament.
Malaysia have amassed more than one-third of the 404 gold medals at the mini-Olympics, smashing their previous record of 111 and sealing top spot for the first time in 16 years.
Thailand trailed with 69 golds and Vietnam had 58, making them the second and third-place teams.
The biennial SEA Games, now in its 29th year, have a well-worn tradition of allowing the hosts to tailor the sporting program to suit their strengths, meaning they often finish on top.
Some of Malaysia’s results have faced scrutiny, including in boxing, sepak takraw and pencak silat, and the #ShameOnYouMalaysia hashtag has been used by critics online.
Thailand‘s delegation chief Thana Chaiprasit also took aim at the hosts when he said: “They organize sports they are good at and do not organise sports other countries are good at.”
Since Malaysia last hosted and topped the SEA Games in 2001, their biggest tally has been 68 gold medals in 2007. Two years ago in Singapore they won 62, finishing fourth.
But Malaysia’s haul of gold medals isn’t outlandish for the SEA Games. In 2007 Thailand won 183 out of 477 on home soil, and in 2011 host nation Indonesia finished with 182 out of 554.
On Tuesday the home team had wins in badminton, sailing, diving, pencak silat, muay kick-boxing, speed skating, water ski, and wakeboarding. Malaysia’s polo team, which features the country’s sports minister, also won gold.
The 11-nation Games, which have been running for about two weeks in and around Kuala Lumpur, will end with a closing ceremony following a limited program on Wednesday.