August 8, 2022
Malaysia head coach Jacob Joseph says the Philippines’ controversial first goal ‘demoralized’ his team

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine midfielder Sara Eggesvik opened the scoring festivities with an audacious screamer at the 32nd minute, but it came with a massive controversy.

“I don’t know whether it’s a goal or not, but the linesman showed it was a goal,” said Malaysia head coach Jacob Joseph after the lopsided loss to the Filipinas, 4-0, in the AFF Women’s Championship 2022 on Friday night, July 8.

Malaysia goalkeeper Nurul Azurin Mazian parried the ball twice midair to produce an outstanding save, but as she fell on the ground, the ball continued to bounce and roll towards the goal line.

Mazian then recovered from her initial dive to finally retrieve the ball, but the assistant referee had seen enough as the goal was ultimately given to the Philippines.

“My keeper already caught the ball in the line, then the linesman showed that there’s a goal,” said Joseph.

“This made my players demoralized in the game because if you were already playing hard, good defense and in the 36th minute, the Philippines came through my defense, then this made the goal frustrating.”

It was indeed the turning point of the match as the 53rd-ranked Philippines romped to a shutout of world No. 85 Malaysia.

“This made my players’ morale down and in the first half we lost 2-0, in the second half we still conceded another two goals.”

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Despite absorbing their first loss of the tournament, Joseph still thanked his players for “playing a very good game” and even acknowledged the strength of the Filipinas.

“The Philippines is a very good team and they’re well prepared. They’ve already qualified for the World Cup.”

Malaysia’s mentor said he’s looking forward to the final two matches in the group stage, but remains concerned of his squad.

“I’m worried about my players whether they can recover or not because you know it’s only one day off and then the next day game, one day off and then the next day game,” he said.

“It’s not easy to play around 10 days, five games. It’s not easy, we play against very strong teams.”

First of those final two games is a pivotal match versus Thailand as Malaysia tries to finish as the second seed in Group A to advance to the semifinal round.

The Malaysians sit at fourth with 2 points and a -4 goal difference, behind Group A leader Philippines (9 points), Thailand (7 points), and Australia (4 points). –

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