INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY: Safee squanders stoppage-time penaltySAFEE Sali had a stoppage-time penalty saved as Malaysia were held to a 0-0 draw by the Philippines in a friendly match of few clear-cut chances at the Cebu City Sports Centre yesterday.
The penalty was given despite the Philippines captain Anton Del Rosario appeared to handle the ball outside the box but goalkeeper Patrick Deyto brilliantly denied Safee with a full-length dive to his left.
The result is the fourth consecutive time Malaysia and Philippines have played to a draw since 2012.
National caretaker coach Ong Kim Swee handed Junior Eldstal his first senior international cap as Azamuddin Akil, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Bunyamin Umar, Fadhli Shas and Norfarhan Muhammad joined the Sarawak midfielder in starting for the national team for the first time in 2014.
Playing on an uneven surface hardly fit for international football, Malaysia almost scored an own goal when defending a corner in the 14th minute, five minutes after Amri Yahyah shot weakly at Deyto.
Aidil Zafuan Radzak miscued a header towards his own goal but fortunately struck teammate Zubir Azmi and off the crossbar to safety.
Patrick Raichelt headed narrowly wide in the 32nd minute when left unmarked as the Philippines, who had few clear-cut chances despite controlling play in the first half, wasted their best chance.
Malaysia were fortunate not to go behind late in the game when substitute Nate Burkey could have helped himself to a hat-trick in the last 15 minutes with his third effort hitting the bar, after missing an open goal and firing just over.
Safee, who came on for Amri in the 88th minute, then wasted a chance to win the game for Malaysia.