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Malaysia revel in victory


31-Dec-2010
Malaysia team manager Subahan Kamal has spoken of the joy within the country following the Tigers' widely acclaimed triumph in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Malaysians overcame an intimidating environment in Jakarta to beat Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate in the final despite going down 2-1 in the second leg on Wednesday night.

"The whole country back home is excited and the Prime Minister has declared Friday as a public holiday. We have never won the AFF Suzuki Cup before so the country is very excited to have finally claimed the title," he said.

Speaking before the tournament, Subahan had set no targets for the young side as he felt that they were still a couple of years away from winning the title.

And the expectations were lowered still further after a crushing 5-1 loss to the Indonesians in their opening game, Malaysia's heaviest ever defeat in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

But somewhere along the way, something seemed to click for the Tigers and they gradually grew in stature as the tournament progressed.

"Just because we lost 5-1 in our opening games, it didn't mean that we could not come back and become champions," said Subahan.

"Our target was to aim for the title in 2012. We came into the tournament with a very young squad and with most of our main players injured. But even after losing 5-1 to Indonesia, we just thought that we had not done too badly and just made some basic mistakes.

"So we just played on and luck played a part also, especially in our goalless draw against Thailand, who I still feel are the best team in Southeast Asia, even though we have won the Cup.

"We managed to get a draw against the Thais and got the win that we needed against Laos. But when we met Vietnam at Bukit Jalil, we knew that to beat them 2-0 was amazing. And when we went over there and drew with them, we knew that we had a great chance to win it all.

"When we got to the final, we knew we were going to win. Not that we were over-confident but we just felt that Indonesia were not as big a threat as Thailand and Vietnam.

"When they came over to Bukit Jalil, we showed that they were beatable and we could even have scored more than three goals."