Axiata Cup semi-finals: Leopards win high regards despite losing to Rajawali
The second string Malaysian Leopards won a great deal of admiration despite losing to Indonesian Rajawali in second leg of Axiata Cup semi-finals on April 1, 2012.
The semi-final was played at Britama Arena Sports Mall in Jakarta and the Rajawali pocketed the full benefits of home ground advantage and overpowered the Leopards with a convincing 3-0 match score.
The youngsters Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Misbun Ramdan Misbun and the Junior World champion duo Teo Ee Yi-Nelson Heg Wei Keat could not rise as victors despite of putting up great resistance.
The national singles coach Hendrawan looked satisfied that his shuttlers proved their mettle and applauded youngsters’ performance in second leg of the semi-final.
He said, “We were a bundle of nerves in the home matches but today, our players were calm and collected. The favourites were the Indonesians but our boys gave a better performance today.”
The 21-year old Misbun Ramdan set the overall mood of the match by dragging his opponent Tommy Sugiarto all the way through three sets.
Misbun walked tall despite facing the defeat with tight figures of 21-15, 17-21 and 13-21.
The Junior World Champions Teo Ee Yi and Nelson Heg registered their mark by fighting tooth and nail against the opposing duo of Rian Agung Saputro-Angga Pratama.
The Indonesians had to face great resistance while registering the 21-19 and 23-21 score in their favour.
The best part of the match was certainly the tussle between the youngster Iskandar Zulkarnain and the World Number 23 Dionysius from Indonesian Rajawali.
The young Iskandar put a spirited show against higher ranked rival before bowing out 21-14, 17-21 and 19-21.
The national coach Hendrawan validated his decision to prefer Iskandar over the Junior World Champion Zulfadli Zulkifli and admired the youngster for putting in good fight.
He said, “I rested Zulfadli Zulkifli today and fielded Iskandar to give him a feel of playing in the team event and he did quite well.”
Meanwhile, Indonesia Garuda bagged full benefits of Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat’s absence as they stamped Malaysian Tigers with a 3-0 victory.
Both Malaysian teams went home with $100,000 each while both Indonesian finalists will lock horns for a grand amount of $400,000 in the title match of Axiata Cup.