Arsenal vs. Malaysia XI (Stadium Bukit Jalil – 8:45 p.m, 13 July 2011)

I’ve always wanted to watch the Gunners live and seized the opportunity as far back as early June 2011 when the club first announced the tour and the sale of the tickets to the match. Thanks to my colleague, Hasib for reserving a seat for me together with this wife – I’d arrived late after work and almost didn’t get a decent spot to watch.

The pictures of the match are as follows, but they are of poor quality as they were taken with a Blackberry Bold. Yes, it’s time to get a decent camera…

part of the crowd 

spectators

Ticket Pro claimed that 50,000 tickets were sold. I’m sure that if the match was played on a weekend, we’d have full capacity crowd. Just look at all that empty seats.

warm-up

The players are warming up here and when the stadium’s main screen panned to Samir Nasri, there were loud cheers from the crowd and the young French midfielder grinned sheepishly as if unsure of the reception. The spectators clearly loved him, though.

players entrance

The players from both sides making their way out on the pitch. Thunderous applause broke out.

lineup

Customary line-up prior to the kickoff.

before kickoff

The Malaysian team having their team huddle just right before the start of the match.

ramsey scores the penalty

Aaron Ramsey scores Arsenal’s first goal in the 5th minute. The fans wanted to see goals and that came early.

2nd half

The 2nd half, with the introduction of Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky made the match much more interesting than the drab 1st half.

late 2nd half

Final picture of the night – Samir Nasri (in the left corner near the penalty box) impressing when he came on together with Robin van Persie, Andrey Arshavin and Bacary Sagna in mid-2nd half.

On all accounts, the Gunners did come alive in the 2nd half after a pretty colourless 1st period. Maroune Chamakh was largely peripheral in the 1st half and doesn’t seem to be able to impose himself in the match; Ryo Miyaichi showed some pretty good moves but was well marked by the Malaysian rightback. I’d prefer to give the young Japanese some time to impress given his tender age. Theo Walcott did most of the running in the 1st half and looked the more dangerous moving forward. His sublime chip over the Malaysian goalkeeper in the 37th minute was what we all wanted to come and watch. Jack Wilshere tried to drive the team forward but the Malaysian midfield held firm. The Malaysian team came close to scoring with a freekick on the 32nd minute (?) and Wojciech Szczesny tipped the ball over his goalpost. On the whole, the Malaysian XI played rather well and did not disappoint the home crowd.

Carlos Vela’s introduction in the 2nd half with playmaker Tomas Rosicky made the game far more palatable. Suddenly, there was movement in the Arsenal’s strategy and Vela was intuitive in his forays forward, scoring with a delightful chip over Khairul Fahmi on 59 minutes.

Perhaps, the highlight of the night was the entry of Van Persie and Co. who had been warming up on the touchlines for about 20 minutes and elicited strong cheers from the crowd when the main screen focused upon them going through their routine. I did stay to watch them play for bit, seeing Nasri impressing the crowd but had to leave when it was the 79th minute as the LRT service would be crowded with the better part of 50,000 people jamming the spacious Bukit Jalil station. Arrived home at 12 midnight and dozed off almost immediately. Yes, the game wasn’t that enthralling but the crowd was superb, and the vociferous support for the Malaysian national team (who on the whole, played really well despite the 4-0 final scoreline but just lacked the courage to forge forward in attack) made me unreservedly proud to be a Malaysian. 

It had been a great night  : )        

 

 

 

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1 Response to Arsenal vs. Malaysia XI (Stadium Bukit Jalil – 8:45 p.m, 13 July 2011)

  1. Khairul says:

    Nice!

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