A COMBINATION of Central Coast Mariners National Youth League and Hyundai A-League players today defeated the Malaysian U23 National Team 1-0 in a behind closed doors training match at Mingara Athletics Track, Tumbi Umbi.
Captain-for-the-day Daniel McBreen’s well-taken goal midway through the second half was all that separated the two sides in a match that saw numerous junior Mariners pit wits against Malaysia’s Young Tigers.
Last month, Malaysia’s U23 team won the South East Asian (SEA) Games, seeing off Indonesia on penalties in the final played at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
A crowd of nearly 100,000 people watched the Young Tigers claim the SEA Games gold medal that day – a gallery considerably larger than today’s audience consisting of either side’s coaching and support staff.
Having played and defeated Sydney FC’s National Youth League 3-0 yesterday, Malaysia rotated their squad and showed good ability to match it for the most part with the Mariners at Mingara.
In particularly, talented number 9 Ahmad Fakri Saarani did well leading the line against a Central Coast backline featuring Trent Sainsbury and Sam Gallagher.
For the Mariners, Mitchell Duke impressed up front, while experienced midfielder Stuart Musialik featured in the final 15 minutes of the match.
It was a welcome return to match action for Musialik who since joining the Yellow and Navy has frustratingly had to deal with a series of unfortunate adductor and calf injuries.
Mariners Assistant Coach Phil Moss guided the side for the 90 minutes, and made numerous substitutions after the half-time break.
Indeed, youngsters Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, James Oates, Hayden Morton and Jordan Farina were each given the opportunity to impress the watching Graham Arnold, while fellow NYL players Anthony Caceres and Duke started the game.
Malaysia’s U23 National Team is in Australia for another week.