EPL Masters Malaysia Cup 2012
Expectations were massive in the weeks leading up to the Standard Chartered EPL Masters Malaysia Cup 2012 and we’re happy to report that this eagerly-awaited event did not disappoint.
Thousands of fans from throughout the region flocked to Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam where the tournament was held for the first time since it’s inaugural year in 2008. Flags, scarves and a sea of various football strips created a mass of colour on the day as legions of supporters descended upon the stadium. Tickets in hand, legions of fans approached in a whirl of excitement ready to catch the legends of Manchester United, Liverpool, the EPL All Stars and Malaysia in a rare expedition of the beautiful game.
The afternoon kicked off with the customary soccer carnival where fans were able to meet, greet and get signed autographs with household names like Andy Cole, Patrik Berger and Frank Lebeouf. The carnival was great fun for all, especially the kids who loved getting stuck into the penalty simulators and inflatable goalmouths dotted around outside the arena. Fans of all abilities were thrilled to test their own sharp-shooting skills against that of the pros as we all got warmed-up for the big event. Also at the carnival were some of the regions’ finest football freestylers and these guys really stunned the crowd with their footballing wizardry as we grew ever closer to the big kick-off.
While the festivities continued outside the atmosphere inside the stadium began to swell to fever pitch. The Malaysian Ultras arrived in drones and created an unbelievable spectacle where, adorned in black and yellow they roared their support in full voice to the sounds of drums and song. Kopites from across the continent gathered with giant flags chanting ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ while their red rivals’ vocal appreciation for Manchester United added fuel to the electric atmosphere inside the stadium. We begun with a celebrity match where Astro Super Sport TV dispatched with Media Prima Radio, 3 goals to nil. It was then time for the legends to take the stage.
2012 had promised to be the most exciting tournament yet and it certainly lived up to the hype. Faustino Asprilla combined beautifully with World-Cup winner Frank Leboeuf for the All-Stars. Andrew Cole continually found the back of the net for United with several thunderous strikes, most notably helping to dispatch Malaysia 8-2 to force the EPL All Stars out of the final. Malaysia’s Zainal Abidin Hassan showed flashes of brilliance while Robbie Fowler was utterly clinical in front of goal for Liverpool scoring a record breaking 14 goals.
In the end it was the ruthless finishing of Fowler coupled with the invention of his teammates Steve Mcmanaman and Patrick Berger that inspired the reds to victory. The Anfield club netted an unprecedented 28 goals on the day but the moment that drew everyone to their feet was surely the emphatic last-minute equaliser by Fowler in the final. With that trademark left foot, Robbie rifled his shot home with just moments to go to make the score 4-4 vs. arch-rivals Manchester United. That pivotal strike took the match to a nerve-rattling penalty shoot-out.
In the shoot-out Liverpool were unshakable; – they didn’t miss once. Meanwhile Manchester United were left kicking themselves at losing a second EPL Masters final in a row. Holding the trophy aloft triumphantly, this day belonged to Liverpool and their mercurial striker Robbie Fowler. Fowler ended the tournament with a record breaking 14 goals and was subsequently awarded with the player of the tournament award. The drama of the day left Liverpool fans elated while the neutrals were thoroughly entertained by the frantically fast-paced action on show. Not to mention the huge haul of goals that were dispatched to brilliantly by the legends. It was a fantastic day out and we can’t wait to bring the boys back next year with some even bigger names on the team sheets and with a bit of luck, even more goals than this year.