Canberra FC win against Malaysia

A stoppage time penalty from substitute striker Philippe Bernabo has given Canberra FC a remarkable 3-2 win over the Malaysian National Team at Deakin Stadium on Thursday 6 June 2013. Bernabo picked himself up to crash home the match-winner from the penalty spot after the referee had adjudged him brought down by the Malaysian goalkeeper with almost the final act of the match to seal a sensational victory for the part-timers over their international opponents. 

Canberra FC were far from over-awed by facing international opposition and dictated the pace and tempo of the match early on, stroking the ball about with confidence and stretching the field releasing wingers Ivan Pavlak and Daniel Bennett to cause mischief on the flanks. With Dustin Wells, on loan from Belconnen United for the evening, pulling the strings the home coaching staff would have been happy with the opening exchanges.

Wells drove in a low shot that bounced up awkwardly and was pushed away by Norazlan Razali in the first attempt of the match, whilst at the other end Amri Yahyah looked dangerous up front for Malaysia with some penetrating running and showed his pace, attempting a chip from outside the area which Adam Perakovic had to be agile enough to reach. 

That was one of a trio of decent saves that Perakovic had to make in the first half as the Canberra FC custodian saved well from a Norshahrul Idlan Talaha volley on turn and did even better to tip over a mid-range strike from Safiq Rahim. By that stage though Canberra FC had stunned their professional visitors by taking a 2-0 lead after a brace of well taken goals, and thoroughly deserved ones as well, with few arguing that the National Premier League team were worthy of their lead.

The first came in the 28th minute and Wells was pivotal to the move. The Blue Devils playmaker arched a sensational cross-field ball into the path of Ivan Pavlak which the winger, at full pace, volleyed back across goal to arch predator Alex Oloriegbe who arrived to poke the ball past Razali from eight yards.

And it got even better six minutes later as the home team doubled their lead. Malaysia was caught dawdling in possession and Oloriegbe stole the ball and strode clear of the chasing defenders. The striker kept his head to draw Razali and leave central midfielder Ryan Keir with the easiest of finishes, tapping the ball into the empty net from six yards, much to the glee of the home supporters. Malaysia hit back late on when Norshahrul Idlan Talaha struck the post with a fierce cross-shot, but Canberra FC led 2-0 at the interval. 

Both teams made a raft of changes during the second forty-five minutes but it was Malaysia who looked the most dangerous, in particular their sprightly number ten Safee Sali. The substitute had a box-full of tricks and a sharp turn of speed in the area and consistently troubled the Canberra FC back four. 

It was little surprise therefore that when Malaysia did find a route back into the game that it came from the impressive Sali. A slick break down the left hand flank resulted in a ball down the channel for Sali to chase. His jet-heeled acceleration got him away from the tracking markers and his composure did the race, firing a low shot beyond the reach of Canberra FC replacement goalkeeper Jakob Cole and into the far corner.

That spurred Malaysia onto greater things and they almost replicated the goal with a carbon copy effort just past the hour mark. Nazrin Nawi was the man to find the chink in the Canberra FC armour but his cross-shot lacked the accuracy of Sali’s and flashed harmlessly wide of the home goal. Meanwhile, Canberra FC had made several more changes and one of them, Kaz Patafta who drew a sharp save from sub keeper Farizal Marilas. 

Malaysia fully deserved their leveller seven minutes from time with a second of the match to Sali. The striker found himself unmarked in the penalty area to knock past Cole from close range to bring parity of the visitors whose display in the second period justified a share of the spoils. But it could take little away from Canberra FC who more than matched their international opposition and claimed a stunning win late on. 

Just as it appeared that the match would end all square came the penalty award that infuriated Malaysia. Bernabo kept his cool and rammed his spot-kick straight down the middle to win the game for the locals and end a fascinating contest.

MATCH STATISTICS

CANBERRA FC: 1. Adam Perakovic (18. Jacob Cole 58’), 3. Aaron Evans (99. Hristjan Tanoski 46’), 4. Dustin Wells (15. Goran Josifovski 66’), 6. Ryan Keir (8. Kaz Patafa 46’), 7. Marcin Zygmunt (16. Matt Grbesa 46’), 10. Alex Oloriegbe (9. Philippe Bernabo 58’), 11. Ivan Pavlak (23. Jordan Lamb 66’), 12. Nathan Evans (5. Adam Al-Adhami 58’), 13. Daniel Bennett (14. Josip Jadric 58’), 22. Jack Green (17. Aiden Brunskill 66’), 20. James Field (19. Adam Spaleta 46’)

MALAYSIA: 23. Norazlan Razali (1. Farizal Marlias 58’), 2. Mahalli Jasuli (18. Saiful Nizam Miswan 59’), 4. Asaruddin Omar, 7. Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak, 8. Safiq Rahim (6. Amiridzuan Taj Tajudin 72’), 9. Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (20. Nizad Ayub 72’), 14. Faiz Subri (19. Azamuddin Akil 46’), 15. Gurusamy Kandasamy (25. Nazmi Faiz Mansor 46’), 16. Kunanlan Subramaniam (11. Nazrin Nawi 58’), 17. Amri Yahyah (10. Safee Sali 46’), 24. Nik Shahrul Ab Halim (3. Faizal Muhamad 76’)

DISCIPLINE: YELLOW CARDS: None

MATCH OFFICIALS: Richard Naumovski (referee), Allyson Flynn, Greg Taylor, Matthew Cropper (Fourth Official)