‘Malaysia United’ in football thriller
By BRIAN MARTIN
KUALA LUMPUR: They may be die-hard Manchester United fans but they are Malaysians at heart.
The Red Devils may have won 3-2 yesterday but it was the plucky Harimau Muda team which captured the hearts at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Awash with a sea of red, the stadium was filled with Manchester United fans, yet the biggest cheers were reserved for the courageous Malaysians who took the fight to their more illustrious opponents.
The “Mexican Wave” was produced several times before the names of each United player was read out.
Surprisingly, the loudest cheer was for Michael Owen, the high-profile former Liverpool player, who recently moved to the Manchester club.
Owen did not start but the fans were already calling for him long before he made his entrance at the 60th minute.
Vendors selling all kinds of foodstuff and souvenirs outside the stadium did brisk business as fans started streaming in as early as 2pm. The match started at 5.30pm.
While the atmosphere inside the stadium was electric, the same could not be said outside.
Royal fan: Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah (right) taking a photo with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after presenting him with a souvenir at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium yesterday. Looking on is Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (left).
Many fans were caught in hour-long traffic jams and tempers were further frayed when they were subjected to security checks before being allowed into the stadium.
Once inside, however, the match proved to be an enjoyable experience.
Singaporean Cavin Poh, 31, said that despite the traffic-snarled roads, his trip to watch his heroes was worth every penny.
“I flew in on Friday and will leave early tomorrow (today). It was just amazing seeing Rooney and Giggs in the flesh. I only wish Man Utd will visit Singapore soon,” he said.
Poh and thousands others like him must be jumping for joy because in the post-match press conference, it was announced that United would play a rematch with the Malaysian selection at 8.45pm on Monday.
Tickets – RM308 for the grandstand and RM58 for the rest of the stadium - will be available from today at ticket pro outlets nationwide.
Tickets will also be sold from noon to 7pm today and on Monday at the stadium.
Call the ticketpro hotline at 03-78807999 for details.
Source : The Star