Nabi late goal helps India to draw Malaysia

A late goal from wing-back Syed Rahim Nabi helped India hold Malaysia to a one-all draw in the first of their two international friendlies. The match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, Assam witnessed close to 20,000 people watching the match action.

India played a 4-4-2 formation under Savio Medeira as under his predecessors. The big surprise was that Jeje Lalpekhlua was on the bench with Joaquim Abranches starting for him along with Sunil Chhetri, while Jaspal Parmar made his debut as right back for the injured Samir Naik. The other players were expected in the starting eleven like Karanjit Singh and young Jewel Raja with Subrata Pal and Mehtab Hussain injured.

India had a better start into the game, but they were made to pay due to the lack of finishing. The best chance came in the 17th minute when striker Sunil Chhetri came very close to scoring but he missed back of the net. But in the last quarter of the first session the Malaysians had more of the action and put pressure on the Indian defence, which ultimately gave them the lead in in 42nd minute when Mohammed Rahim Safiq dogged past India goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.

The second half continued with the same intensity with both the teams making continuous attempts at the rival goals. But the Indian players seem determined not to lose in front of their vociferous supporters in Guwahati. Five minutes from time Syed Rahim Nabi stunned the visitors, when he headed home a much awaited equaliser from a perfect corner kick by substitute Anthony Pereira with made the home fans a happy lot.

Praising his players new Chief Coach Savio Medeira said, "the Boys played very well and all their hard work paid off, though there is lot of scope for improvement like keeping ball possession and not to make unnecessary fouls."

"We will definitely try to play better in our next game in Kolkata and hopefully will get better results," Savio added.

India next play Malaysia in the second international friendly on Wednesday, November 16 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.


INDIA 1-1 (0-1) Malaysia - Goals: 0-1 Mohammed Rahim Safiq (42'), 1-1 Syed Rahim Nabi (89')

1-Karanjit Singh; 28-Jaspal Singh Parmar, 14-Mahesh Gawli [C], 19-Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh, 9Syed Rahim Nabi; 23-Steven Benedic Dias (55' ??-Anthony Pereira), 25-Jewel Raja Sheikh, 8-Climax Lawrence (67' ??-Mehrajuddin Wadoo), 15-Clifford Miranda (63' 20-Lalrindika Ralte); 11-Sunil Chhetri (83' 18-Sushil Kumar Singh), 29-Joaquim Abranches (60' 10-Jeje Lalpekhlua)

Mohammed Farizal Marlias; Mohammed Norhafiz Zamani Misbah [C] (Mohammed Faizal), Mohammed Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, Mohammed Rahim Safiq (Umar Bunyamin), Abdul Hadi Yahaya, Mohammed Azmi Muslim, Amar Rohidan, Mohammed Khyril Muhymeen (Abu Bakar), S. Kunanlan, Mazlizam Mohamad, Shahurain Abu Samah

Pratap Singh (India)

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