The ASEAN Championship match between Malaysia and Singapore was a match that I eagerly anticipated. Despite that, I only managed to catch the second half. Yesterday had been a busy day; one Board of Directors meeting and then my CEO’s birthday on the same day. Busy but fun. Well, not quite busy but whatever. I caught the first half review nevertheless. The second half was entertaining but the result — one all — is tremendously disappointing.

Pardon me for being a pessimist or an unpatriotic bastard but I did not place too much hope on the national team; the team’s past performance is not convincing. Upon watching the half time review though, I was surprised to find out that Malaysia was dominating the game. I am unsure if it was the case of Malaysia performing well or Singapore waking up with a fever but Malaysia was dominating nonetheless.

The scoreline at halftime was zero all.

The second half time proved explosive.

Malaysia continued to dominated and the deadlock was finally broken when a Malaysian player by the name of Hardi scored. It was a fantastic, beautiful, surprising, superb goal. The curve of the ball path and the distance the ball travelled make the goal all the more astounding. It is not everyday I could witness a goal like that – not from the Malaysian team. With that goal, Malaysia took the lead. A glorious lead befitting a glorious goal.

I was watching the game quietly right up until the goal. The goal animated me. I was clapping, shouting and my blood was circulating greatly that I thought I was having a heart attack!

It was a fantastic feeling that I do not think I remember having since the Michigan-Michigan State match at the Big House. It was ecstasy. What was better, Malaysia continued to harass the Singaporean that it seems that it was Malaysia up against Brunei or some other lesser regional team.

The way the game was going, a Malay would say, “harapan menggunung tinggi melangit.” Well, I am unsure what a Malay would say really but the phrase seems catchy.

With surging expectation going beyond rationality, Singaporean equalizer struck a mighty blow. I do not think the goal should have gone in. After all the spectacle, the goal went in too easy. But I am speaking as a couch potato. And I think Shebby spoke too much.

Malaysia continued attacking nevertheless. It was amazing how the players kept on fight. They realized that the game had not ended yet and certainly were not ready to throw in the towel yet. Why should they?

They were highly spirited. I had not seen that in the national team for a very long time. It was a contagious feeling and I was shouting at the top of my lungs.

As anger and frustration was mounting, I tried to pick fault with all the Singaporean players. Especially the Singaporean player Precious – an African giant – audaciously pushed a Malaysia player for the ball. He was given a yellow card but the referee should have given that guy a red. And, the red card for the Singaporean captain was freaking marvelous.

And then I thought, damn, how many imported players does the Singaporean team have? Two, Three? Five!

Whatever it might be, the game was great. I wish the Tigers all the best. Let us beat the Lions in their own den!

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