MALACCA (6 FEBRUARY 2015): The Malaysian men’s team advanced into the semi-finals of the ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2014/15 MELAKA following wins over Singapore and Indonesia respectively while the women failed to subdue Vietnam at the Malacca International Trade Centre today.
Chasing the first ever ISTAF SuperSeries title since the 2011/12 inaugural tournament, Malaysia defeated Singapore 2-0 and followed up with similar margin of victory over Indonesia after having demolished China also 2-0 on Thursday.
The Malaysians lead Group B with six points and will be joined in the last four by Singapore. The hosts will take on Korea tomorrow while defending champions Thailand goes into showdown with Singapore in the second semi-finals tie.
“This was our best performance in the tournament so far and I must congratulate the players for this fantastic wins over Singapore and Indonesia,” said national coach Abdul Talib Ahmad. “We now have a biggest task ahead in the semi-finals against Korea and let’s just hope for the best.”
“We have seen how Korea played against Japan and Myanmar and we need to respect them. They have a good combination of players so I will plan my strategy against them with the best players in our line-up,” added Abdul Talib.
Malaysia paraded Syahir Rosdi (tekong), skipper Farhan Adam (feeder) and Khairol Zaman (striker) against the Singaporeans who went ahead 5-2 in the first set. However, near perfect strikes by Syahir , who turned 23 out of 36 strikes into points – a 63 per cent strike rate, rattled the Singaporeans as the hosts went on to win 21-13 in under 20 minutes.
The Malaysians went ahead 12-7 lead in the second set and extended to 19-16. Two quick spikes by Khairol and Farhan sealed Malaysia’s win in front of 1,500 fans.
However, tactical changes against Indonesia, who had earlier defeat China 2-0, played a major role in Malaysia’s triumph. The introduction of Hanafiah Dollah (striker) and Ahmad Aizat Azmi (tekong) for the first time in the tournament turned the momentum around as the Indonesians slumped to a 14-21, 12-21 defeat, ending all hopes of moving further in the SuperSeries.
Defending champions Thailand continued their domination in this historical city of Malacca with a typical display of power and quick smashes against Myanmar and Korea, rolling out 2-0 wins respectively, to advance into the semi-finals from Group A with six points. The Koreans also sailed into the last four despite suffering a 21-11, 21-11 defeat against the Thais but triumphed over Japan (2-1) and Myanmar (2-0).
While the Malaysian men’s team were expected to get past Singapore, the women let slip a golden opportunity to pack Vietnam, runners-up of ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 in Nay Pyi Taw three months ago, out of the tournament and make their presence in the semi-finals for the first time.
Vietnam, who lost 2-0 to Korea in the morning, sailed to a 21-12 first set win but found the going tough against the Malaysians in the second. Backed by the strong support from fans here, Noor Fairuz Azizan (tekong), Nor Farhana Ismail (feeder) and Elly Syahira Rosli (striker) who were substituted by Norzubaidah Che Ab Wa and Kamisah Khamis midway, were a complete rejuvenated side in the second set.
They shot into an 18-10 lead but allowed the promising young servers in Tran Thi Thu Hoai and Bui Thi Hai Yen to claw back into the game to level score at 20-20 first and then 21-21 before pulling away to win 23-21. In the decider, the Malaysians were a spent force and lost 21-12 in a match that lasted 63 minutes, paving Vietnam’s entry into the semi-finals.
Myanmar, however, created the biggest upset bin the history of the ISTAF SuperSeries by carving a 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 victory over defending champions Thailand in the last Group B match. The Thais have never lost a match since the inaugural 2011/12 ISTAF SuperSeries.
In Saturday’s semi-finals showdown, Myanmar faces Vietnam and Thailand will up against Korea. The Malaysians take on Japan in the 5-6th placing match.
ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2014/15 MELAKA is the second leg of the ISTAF SuperSeries after the success of the opening round in Myanmar. The tournament is jointly organised by the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) and Asia Sports Ventures (ASV), ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and developmental partner. It is being held with the support of the Malacca State Government and Sepaktakraw Association of Malaysia.
ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2014/15 MELAKA was televised on ASTRO Arena, ASTRO SuperSports, ASTRO SuperSports HD and RTM. For the very first time, fans could also catch all four days of tournament action live on www.sepaktakraw.org.
RESULTS (6th February 2015)
Group A: Thailand v Myanmar 2-0 (21-7, 21-18); Thailand bt Korea 2-0 (21-11, 21-11);
Group B: Malaysia bt Singapore 2-0 (21-13, 21-16); Indonesia bt China 2-0 (21-15, 21-10); Malaysia bt Indonesia 2-0 (21-14, 21-12).
Group A: Vietnam bt Malaysia 2-1 (21-12, 21-23, 21-12), Korea bt Vietnam 2-0 (21-18, 21-17);
Group B: Myanmar bt Thailand 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 21-14).
Tomorrow (7th February 2015) – Men’s Semi-finals: Thailand vs Singapore (2.00pm), Malaysia vs Korea (3.20pm).
Women’s Semi-finals: Myanmar vs Vietnam (4.40pm), Korea vs Thailand (6.00pm).
Released by Shekhinah PR on behalf of Asia Sports Ventures.
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