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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 July, 2003, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
John brace earns Blues win
Malaysia 0-4 Birmingham

Birmingham striker Stern John
John netted once in each half

Stern John made amends for his stunning miss against Newcastle by scoring twice for Birmingham against Malaysia in the Asia Cup third-place play-off.

John netted once in each half along with late headers from Stephen Clemence and Bryan Hughes to earn the Blues a comfortable victory against a tired home side.

Bruce was pleased with his side's performance and said he thought the tournament was a good pre-season exercise.

"We're delighted that everyone's had a bit of a run out and the fitness levels are looking good," Bruce said.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Birmingham 1-2 Newcastle
Malaysia 1-4 Chelsea
Malaysia 0-4 Birmingham
Final
27 July 1345 BST

"We wanted to up the tempo in the second half and kill them off because we knew they would tire.

"I'm delighted Stern scored. The miss against Newcastle can happen to anyone, but he looked a really good player again today," he added.

Trinidadian striker John gave Birmingham the perfect start eight minutes in when he struck a low shot from 30 yards that swerved into the corner of the net.

The Blues were unlucky not to double their advantage before half-time as Paul Devlin's close-range goal-bound shot was somehow blocked by Aziz after good work by Jamie Clapham.

I was walking around Malaysia yesterday and everyone was laughing at me
Stern John

It did not take John long too put the result beyond doubt in the second period.

Five minutes in he latched onto a Stan Lazaridis cross from the left and coolly sent the ball past Aziz's despairing dive.

Bruce's side threatened to run riot after, with Darren Carter seeing a shot well-saved by Aziz and John missing two opportunities to bag a hat-trick.

The latter stages of the second half became almost like a training game, with both sides making a host of substitutions to rest their weary players.

After 76 minutes Damien Johnson crossed for Clemence to head home, and just six minutes later Johnson supplied Hughes with a perfect centre to end the scoring.

Birmingham were without the suspended Kenny Cunningham, sent off in the first game against Newcastle, and Christophe Dugarry, who was suffering with a knee injury.


Malaysia: Aziz, Misbah, Mohamed Nizaruddin Yusof, Mahayuddin, Rakhali, Hasan, Shahbuddin, Talib, Omar, Dermaraju, Nanthakumar.

Birmingham: Bennett, Kenna, Clapham, Tebily, Purse, Devlin, Savage, Dunn, Carter, John, Horsfield.





BIRMINGHAM CITY


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