KUALA LUMPUR: It was a dream come true for pint-sized Faiz Nasir (pic) when he scored on his debut.
The 26-year-old, who at 1.52m is the smallest player on the pitch, proved that size does not matter as he constantly started several attacking moves from midfield with his dazzling runs.
The Selangor player was instrumental in Malaysia’s 2-1 win over Afghanistan in the Airmarine Cup yesterday.
Afghanistan, ranked 147th in the world, drew first blood in the 31st minute through midfielder Faysal Shayesteh, who curled in a sweet shot to beat goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
Harimau Malaya, ranked 167th, equalised through Faiz who thumped in a shot from outside the box.
Bringing on Matthew Davies in the 80th minute proved to be a master stroke when his cross from the right in the 83rd minute was bundled in by Afghanistan’s Abassin Alikhil.
“After we lost to Singapore there was huge pressure on us. I’m relieved we came back against Afghanistan,” said Faiz.
“I’m overjoyed to score my first goal. For me, size is not an obstacle. I just do my best and goals like that don’t come often, I’m glad it came today.”
Coach Tan Cheng Hoe was happy to see Abdul Halim Saari and Faiz performing well on the international stage.
“It’s important for new players to feel comfortable. Faiz had a memorable debut and Halim showed he too could play on the big stage.
“The win was important as it boosted our morale for future matches. I hope they can keep this momentum going.”
Cheng Hoe also did not rule out the possibility of calling up more new faces in the future.
Meanwhile, his counterpart Anoush Dastgir felt his team deserved a penalty in the second half.
“I’m not so happy with the game today. Referees were bad. Friendly game, I understand, Malaysia game, I understand.
“However, I’m going home with a bad feeling. When you see a penalty not given, it’s bad.
“For me, in any kind of tournament, the officiating should be good.”
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