The Azkals hope to glean something from the loss

The Philippine Azkals during a friendly match against Nepal at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. AZKALA PHOTO

Coach Michael Weiss believes the Philippine Azkals have something to gain from their defeat against Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam as they now set their sights on facing Indonesia next week in the second qualifying round for the World Cup/Asia Cup.

“I think the game in Indonesia will probably be a little more open and we can risk more,” Weiss said after Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Vietnam before 10,378 fans at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Indonesia is the next team to visit Manila on a long flight from Iraq, where they suffered a 5-1 defeat to the hosts in their second Group F match in Basra.

Of course, given the recent history of both nations, surviving such a long journey after a disheartening defeat is no guarantee that the Azkals will be able to get the expected result against the visitors.

Indonesia defeated the Philippines 2-1 in January last year in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup held at the Rizal Memorial.

Climb from behind

“Of course, the goal is to win and that’s what we’re aiming for,” Weiss said after his first unfriendly match since returning to decide the Azkali’s fate.

Weiss expressed satisfaction with the Azkals’ valiant effort despite entering the competition against Vietnam as underdogs.

The Azkals tried to score the opening goal in the first 12 minutes thanks to tries from OJ Porteria and Patrick Reichelt, but moments later a defensive move allowed Vietnam to score the opening possession after a shot by Nguyen Van Toan.

The score remained unchanged for the rest of the match, with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge responsible for stops from a Vietnam counter-attack and one big missed opportunity for the hosts when Atletico Madrid U-19 player Santi Rublico missed a shot following a long ball from Stephen Schrock.

“We’re still a little behind, but we had to face a team like Vietnam given the pressure and the chances we had in the second half,” Weiss said. – A draw would be a fair result.

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“Despite everything, I was satisfied with the performance and I think we can hold our heads up because we left everything we had on the pitch,” added the German mentor.


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