Monday, March 28, 2011

Hicham Strikes as Etoile Drew 1-1 with Malaysia National Team

S-League Champions Etoile FC faced off with AFF Suzuki Cup Champions Malaysia in a charity game aimed at raising funds for the victim of the tsnami/earthquake faced by Japan on 11 March 2011 and came off with a 1-1 draw. Coming into the game 4 days after disposing off the Jaguars 3-0, goal heroes Hicham, Jonathan Toto and Nordine Talhi started as coach Arena chose to field in a strong team despite some critics saying that the "S-League is more important than a marquee friendly".

However, in a game where both teams, being champions in their own right, stuck to their gameplan, the referee had different ideas. In the buildup to the first goal that visitors, affectionately known as Harimau Muda (or Malaya), would score, Abbas Daud (the man in Pink) awarded a corner kick on the right side of the field. However, the Malaysia no.7 took the corner from the left side of the field, and as the linesman seemingly flag for the corner to be taken on the right, Abbas allowed the corner to be taken.

However, due credit have to be given to the Malaysians as they took the chance well, as a well-met header beat goalie Antonin Trilles and goes into the net for the visitors to take the lead. This sparks off loud cheers from the visiting fans as they would continue to cheer for the rest of the duration of the game.

Chances for Toto, Souchon and Lefranc then seemingly goes into waste as Toto saw his header denied by the crossbar and then Lefranc saw his shot tipped away by the visitor's goalie, who had a good first half weathering the storm. Nordine Talhi had to leave the pitch after less than half-hour with a strained right feet, and midfield Stan Fougeroud was sent out to create havoc in the Malaysian half, as the Malaysian seemed relieved when the half-time whistle was called.

The visitors then made a few changes during half-time and it seemed to disrupt their game, as the Stars kept the players who left the field for half-time, on the field. Toto continued testing the Malaysia No.28, as the Stars start to built their attack from the left side of the pitch, Camara being the chief tormentor.

The goal for the Stars finally came when Hicham, having scored in the previous game, took the ball past 3 defenders before blasting it into the net to level the game. Game on, as the Stars finally saw their hard work paid off. In truth, Hicham's goal would not had been save by any goalie as the direction and power of the ball is one that David Beckham and Ronaldinho would be proud of.

Theo Raymond was called into the game as the Stars looked for the winner, still dominating the game and not allowing the Malaysians into the game, although a last ditch tackle from Damiani on a Malaysian forward prevented the Malaysians from taking the lead a second time.

Etoile piled on the pressure but would had been proud of their display as Abbas Daud called off an exciting game after 3 minutes of added time was played. The sign of relief on the faces of the Malaysians' players perhaps showed that they were given a tougher fight than they had expected. Had it not been the sharpness of their goalkeeper, Etoile would probably had savour a victory against the ASEAN champions.

In the end, football wins as the fans who turned up were treated to a great display of football from both teams, and more importantly, money was raised for the Japanese victims affected by the disaster that they experienced just weeks ago. It would probably had been more appropiate though, if a minute of silence was observed before this game kick-off, to befit the agenda of this hastily arranged match.

Thank you Malaysia, as you showed Singapore how football is supposed to be - ON AND OFF THE FIELD.


  1. Dear Etoile FC Fans:

    Your welcome.

    -Malaysian football fan who was there-

  2. We hope to see more fans like yourself soon =)