Azkal Jason de Jong not losing sleep over foul that led to Palestine goal in final
By Karlo Sacamos
PHILIPPINE men’s football team midfielder Jason de Jong hasn’t lost sleep over his crucial foul that led to the free kick and the all-important Palestine goal that denied the Azkals a spot in the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup.
The AFC Challenge Cup final last May had been scoreless until eventual Golden Boot winner Ashraf Alfawaghra converted an impressive free kick, awarded to Palestine after De Jong committed a foul in the 58th minute.
The Palestinians held on, 1-0, to reach the Asian Cup, which remained elusive for the Filipinos.
Although disappointed with the result, De Jong holds no guilt for committing the foul, saying he was just trying to prevent Palestine from making an attempt.
“Not really regrets, because I knew I couldn’t have won in the situation,” De Jong said in a chat with Spin.ph. “If he would’ve gone and taken the shot, then people would say, ‘Why didn’t you tackle him?’ So I put him on the floor.”
“It was just a perfect free kick,” the Filipino-Dutch midfielder added. “That happens in football and I have to pick myself up from that again and move forward.”
“It was sad we didn’t win the champions, but we can still we should have our heads up,” he continued. “We reached the final.”
Personally, one positive De Jong can take away is the exposure he gained. The standout defensive midfielder actually emerged as the Azkal who saw the most action as he played in all five matches, coming in as an early substitute in the group stage opener against Afghanistan, before starting and finishing the last games.