MANILA, Philippines – The Malaysian men’s football team dropped two places from 150 to 152, after it tied the Philippine men’s football team in a FIFA-sponsored international friendly in Manila, February 29.
Tha Azkals on the other hand, stayed in the 156th spot and were unaffected in the FIFA world rankings, as shown in the official FIFA website.
The close, exciting game ended in a 1-1 draw. A header by Denis Wolf off a Jason Sabio throw-in on the 34th minute put the Azkals up for most of the game.
Malaysia’s Ahmad Shakir MD Ali of Malaysia however, broke the hearts of Filipino fans when he netted the ball in injury time, on the 91st minute.
While the Azkals almost pulled off an upset, the draw was welcomed by the Philippine team considering Malaysia is the defending Suzuki Cup champion, and the 2011 SEA Games gold medallist.
In his Twitter account @JYH7, team captain James Younghusband expressed pride in his team for the feat.
“The game against Malaysia last week was a big step in Philippine Football,” he said in his first tweet marked March 5.
“And we achieved that not just by being a team on the pitch but by the support of the fans,” he added.
In recent days, the Azkals-Malaysia match has been tainted by a sexual harassment complaint filed by former Philippine Olympic Committee president Cristy Ramos. The incident allegedly happened in the Azkals locker room before the international friendly.
The Azkals are currently in Nepal for the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, which will more significantly affect world rankings.
In the first round, they are set to play North Korea on Friday, March 9, India on March 11, and Tajikistan on March 13.
North Korea is ranked 111, India is 158th, while Tajikistan occupies the 145th spot. – Rappler.com