Wayne Rooney and Nani scored early in the first half to make it a 2 – 0 scoreline. United seemed enroute to an easy night. So it would seem. United took at least 60% possession of the ball. However, kudos to the Malaysian midfield, United had very few looks at the Malaysia goal after that.
Then, Amri Yahya struck in the wee end of the first half. Chesting the ball from a goal kick, the Selangor captain sent a looping volley at United’s goal. He caught Van der Saar off his line. A superb goal from the Selangor senior to bring Malaysia back into the game just before half time.
Early in the second half, Amri struck again. This time off a Ben Foster error. Ben replaced Van der Saar at goal for Manchester United after half time. He misjudged a back pass from his backline and the ball went loose. Amri who was tracking the back pass pounced on the error. Foster showed that he was no match to the speedy Amri. Amri, thus slotted home to make it 2 -2.
It was pretty much a midfield affair after that, as both teams brought in their reserves. United, as usual had major ball possesssion. The Malaysian defense, however, stood firm. Malaysia even had a number of attempts at the Manchester United goal from quick counter attacks.
Ferguson then sent in their latest signing, Michael Owen into the match. Owen proved he still has a lot to offer MU fans this season. Off a through pass from midfield, Ryan Giggs clashed with the Malaysian keeper. The ball then rebounded into the path of Owen who was ready to slide the ball into the net. 3 – 2 for Manchester.
A great game indeed. Although United was not able to display their usual free flow game. Probably due to the 5.30pm kick off time, humidity and jet lag.
Kudos to Rajagobal and the Malaysian players for showing that there is still hope for the Malaysian team. Amri will certainly cherish this game. He will be talking about that goal that beat Van der Saar for many years to come. Two goals against the great Manchester United. Who would’ve thought?
A rematch has been scheduled to be played on Monday. Will Malaysia churn up better display this Monday?