KUALA LUMPUR (29 August 2017) – Regarded as the gold of all SEA Games gold medals or more archaically the mother of all gold medals as Thailand made it three titles in a row.
While Malaysia may have won the overall crown at the SEA Games this year, the gold in men’s football once again eluded them when they fell to a 1-0 loss to Thailand in the final here tonight at the Shah Alam Stadium.
What made the win even more profound for the Thais was the fact that it was an own goal – as what happened in the final in 2001 – that sealed the fate for the hosts.
Back 16 years ago, it was goalkeeper Kamaruzaman Hassan who put the ball into his own net from a corner right at the end of play.
While this time round, it was goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli in the 39th minute who punched the ball in also from a corner which spelled the end of the Malaysian challenge.
“I would like to thank Malaysia for the opportunity to give our boys the chance to play in front of 80,000 fans,” said Thai coach Worawooot Srimaka. “The win tonight is great for us between two teams which had equal opportunity to win the gold. But I think that we were a little luckier.”
The Thais were just too confident at the back and rarely made a mistake long enough for Malaysia to capitalise on.
In fact, if it was not for the persistent rain all throughout the exchange, the score could have been a lot wider considering the number of chances that were laid up for striker Cheonrop Sampaodi.
Malaysia failed not for the lack of trying but rather they were missing that bite inside d box although Muhammad Nor Azam Abdul Azim did come close with a dipping shot midway through the second half.
And just like the rain that kept soaking the wet ground, the Thai defence just imbibed whatever the Malaysian frontline could muster all the way to the finish.
“It was just unfortunate that he (Haziq) conceded that goal,” said Malaysian head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee. “It is tough for a young player but I believe that this lesson will serve him well in the future.”