Safee Sali missed a late penalty to give Malaysia the win as they drew 0-0 with Philippines
BY KEESHAANAN SUNDARESAN Follow on Twitter
The Azkals started out as the brighter side, spraying passes around confidently. However, Malaysia were gifted the first chance of the game, with Norfarhan setting up Amri Yahya. The experienced forward finished well, although it was impeccably saved by Pat Deyto.
Five minutes later, Philippines almost took the lead. Jason De Jong curled in a delicious set-piece, and Zubir Azmi made an attempt to clear it away. However, that particular attempt almost went inside his own goal, though the bar prevented that from happening.
On the 22nd mark, Norfarhan tried his luck with a long range attempt, though it went crashing against his own teammate Zubir Azmi.
As the first half continued, the home side began to see much more of the ball and consistently frustrated their Malaysian counterparts. Bunyamin Omar consistently struggled to cope with the Philippines flanker and Ong Kim Swee’s men would have been the happier side to hear the half time whistle.
When the second half resumed, Malaysia responded with a promising attack. Amri and Bunyamin showed incredible understanding to build up from the back, but when the ball finally arrived on Hafiz Kamal’s feet, he could only muster a weak attempt towards the Philipinnes’ goal.
On the 54th minute, Ruben Doctora fired a shot that was on target, but Aidil Zafuan showed brilliant instincts to prevent it from hitting the back of the net. Three minutes later, Hafiz Kamal was gifted with another chance, but this time around, the goalkeeper was equal to it as well.
Considering that they were still struggling to find a breakthrough, Kim Swee rang the changes by introducing Piya and Mahali Jasuli in place of Hafiz Kamal and Bunyamin.
But despite that, the Azkals continued their surge on the offensive, missing two key chances through Nate Burkey. On both occasions, Aidil was there to protect the goal.
However, even the mighty Aidil succumbed to a mistake on the 80th minute, as he fluffled a defensive clearance, which gave the ball away to Simone Rota. The latter proceeded to unleash a powerful shot that rattled against the bar. It was certainly Philippines’ best chance in the game.
But as the end came closer, both sides played with a lower tempo and it almost seemed like they were fine with the draw. But drama ensued on the last minute of the game Del Rosario was penalized for using his hand inside the penalty box.
Malaysia were granted a penalty and Safee Sali stepped up, knowing that he could actually seize victory for the Tigers. But there was further frustration as Safee Sali missed his attempt, much to the relief of the home crowd inside the stadium.
The final whistle was blown moments later, and Malaysia will certainly be the more frustrated side, having been so close to a win in Cebu.