CHANGSHU: "We will not be undermined by other teams again,” said national Under-23 forward Safawi Rasid after Malaysia managed to hold Jordan to a 1-1 draw in their second Group C match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship at the Changshu Stadium earlier today.
Safawi, who scored the equaliser from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute said the humiliating loss at the hands of Iraq in their opening match on Wednesday sparked their eagerness and determination.
"I do not want the middle eastern countries to look down on us, today we have given our best for our beloved country and we managed to get a positive result.
"For me, I am very satisfied and proud of my fellow teammates because from the start right to the finish we were 100 per cent committed and we played positively despite going behind early in the first half.
"It’s just slightly disappointing because we had our chances to wrap up the match in our favour from a couple of chances that came our way, but at least one point from today’s match still keeps our chances alive of making the quarter-finals,” he said when met after the match.
Safawi’s equalizer came after Akhyar Abdul Rashid was fouled in the six yard box and it is the Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player’s second goal in as many matches after he scored Malaysia’s consolation goal in the defeat to Iraq.
It was a commendable fightback from Ong Kim Swee’s boys after they fell behind in the 43rd minute to a Ward Helal Khalid’s goal.
With a point to show after two matches, Malaysia who are competing in the championship for the very first time can still progress past the group stage provided they can find a way to beat 2013 runners-up Saudi Arabia in their final group match in Kushan on Tuesday.
"This is a high level championship and this is the first time Malaysia has made it, so we are determined to make history, and if we can pull off an upset in our last group match, we’re in with a good chance to make the quarter-finals.
"InsyaAllah if we all work hard together and play as best we can, we can achieve the good result that we need, and it does not even matter who scores, as long as we can win as this is what matters,” stressed Safawi.