Match Report
Marlborough College Malaysia Boys-U18A vs  British School Manila
On: Saturday, 25 Nov 2017
Venue: Away

As we entered day two, MCM topped the group, but amazingly, winning all three of our fixtures was still not enough to guarantee us a position as top 2 in the group and ultimately through to the Phase competition, which was our aim.

The group table stood as follows;

Marlborough - 12 points / +6 Goal Difference

Regents - 9 points / +7 Goal Difference

Manila - 9 points / +7 Goal Difference

Myanmar - 6 points

Kajonkiet - 4 points

Due to the results and games left, there was still a possibility that MCM could finish 3rd in the group and enter the Plate competition. A Manila win against MCM would see Manila finish first as Head to Head results would be cancelled, as we had beaten Regents, but Regents had beaten Manila. Therefore Manila would move above MCM and Regents with superior goal difference, whilst Regents would finish 2nd above MCM on goal difference also. For this, both teams had to win. Manila had to beat MCM and Regents had to beat Myanmar, leaving all three teams on 13 points from a possible 16.

The game itself proved tactical and cautious throughout, due to the contrasting requirements of both teams. We entered the game knowing a draw would be enough to allow us to finish First, whereas defeat would most likely see us finish 3rd, as I expected Regents to beat Myanmar in the following game.

Manila were the stronger side in the first half but did not threaten our goal with any real chance. We got into half time at 0-0 and I told the boy's it was enough but we needed to be solid. The tactics in the game continued as I foresaw. Manila became more expansive and open due to needing a goal. Our final ball was lacking and on occasion we had real opportunities to cut Manila apart and get that crucial goal, which would have left Manila needed to score twice. Manila's commitment of players forward paid off and they were able to create one clear cut opportunity. A ball into the box was picked up by the striker and he was able to slot underneath Raffi just before he could get to him for 0-1. On this, Manila instantly went to the defensive, knowing that the goal was enough to see them through, but one conceded would leave them needing another goal. With our urgency, we were able to pressurise and in the very last play, Aiman found himself 1v1 with the defender but with distance to make up to get to goal. A great touch and deceptive shot saw Aiman cut inside his man and beat him, only to be smothered by the goalkeeper instantly and his hurried shot hit the goalkeepers legs and was cleared to safety erratically and the referee blew his whistle for full time. No-one saw the bit of skill coming and on another day the ball would've rolled into the net for a last gasp equaliser and we would have finished first.

In the following match, we required Myanmar to get a result against Regents. Unfortunately, despite some heroic goalkeeping, Regents won the game 1-0, due to the most unfortunate own goal. This left MCM 3rd in the group and entering the Plate competiton, rather than the Phase. Knowing 2 goal difference and an own goal was what separated us from the Phase competition was extremely tough to take.