By Olmin Leyba
MALE – Two penalty saves in two big games and Roland Muller has clearly shown who’s the boss in between the sticks.
“We maybe have the best keeper in the tournament,” said Azkals coach Thomas Dooley, referring to his star custodian who played a key role in their 3-2 verdict over Maldives in the semis of the AFC Challenge Cup and an earlier 2-0 victory over Turkmenistan in group play.
“You can see he has some great saves, got another penalty today. And I’m not actually afraid of a penalty shot because of the goal keeper. He is a real football player, great timing, so I’m very pleased with him,” he added.
Muller actually didn’t play in the opening game against Afghanistan, a 0-0 stalemate, as first choice keeper Neil Etheridge took the job.
“I respect the coaches’ decision and I knew my time would come. And I’m always ready when the team needs me,” said the Fil-German.
Muller got to take the place of injured Etheridge and didn’t disappoint. His back-to-back penalty saves make a new high for the keeper who traces his roots from Mindoro.
“It’s really luck but it makes me happy I saved two penalties. Yeah, I decided to go one corner based on gut feel and luck was on my side,” he said.
Dooley had said once that Muller won the game for the Azkals but the keeper declined to take credit.
“It contributed to the victory but it’s a team effort,” he said.