A 40,000-strong capacity crowd jammed into Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Stadium on Saturday (29 July) night to watch the Malaysian Olympic squad meet South Korea in the final of the 11-nation Merdeka soccer tournament.
A 40,000-strong capacity crowd jammed into Kuala Lumpur's Merdeka Stadium on Saturday (29 July) night to watch the Malaysian Olympic squad meet South Korea in the final of the 11-nation Merdeka soccer tournament. Earlier in the day, police had battled with disappointed fans outside the stadium following the announcement that all tickets for the match had been sold.
The Korean players, playing in the red (darker) shirts, dominated the first hour of the match with some fine attacking football and some brilliant defensive containment against the more methodical Malaysians.
In the 4???th minute of the game, the Malaysian centre-half Chandran headed the ball into his own goal to give the Korean a one-nil lead.
Immediately after the restart, the Koreans rammed in a second goal to widen the gap. The Malaysians reeled in confusion but in the 72nd minute winghalf Chin Aun pulled his team back into the struggle with a goal.
Malaysia had the edge on the Koreans in the closing stages, but no amount of pressure could crack the tight defense. As time wore on the Malaysians were becoming desperately pressed for an equaliser but the defense still held, and at one stage in the 80th minute the Koreans very nearly scored again.
When the final whistle sounded, thousands of disappointed Malaysian fans set fire to their programmes and threw them onto the pitch, but they were quickly extinguished.
For the Koreans, it was the Merdeka cup for the fifth time and a victory salute to the crowd.