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The national interim coach has refused to put the blame on the misfiring JDT striker for Sunday's 0-0 draw against the Philippines

GOALBY    FALAH ABDULLAH     Follow on Twitter

Harimau Malaya interim coach Ong Kim Swee has given his backing to under-fire striker Safee Sali.

The 30-year-old has been widely criticized by large sections of Malaysian football fans after missing a last minute spotkick against a stout Philippines side at the Cebu City Sports Complex on Sunday, meaning the game ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

Kim Swee stated that Safee showed unwavering bravery to step up and take the penalty.

“I can’t blame Safee for the miss, he was our key player when Malaysia won the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010 and he showed character to take the penalty when the others were hesitant,” Kim Swee told The Star.

Malaysia were forced into submission by the determined and industrious Azkals who troubled the Aidil Zafuan-led defensive line through the nippy wing displays of Patrick Reichelt and Nate Burkey.

Kim Swee went on to stress that Thomas Dooley’s side, who are preparing for the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup, have had better preparations for the tie in comparison to Malaysia's four day training period.