IT’S already the AFF Suzuki Cup but the Philippines has remained struggling, especially in offense as manifested by last Saturday’s goalless draw against Singapore.
“Lack of goals frustrated me. We didn’t create a lot of chances. Obviously you want to win the game, and you need to score goals. I love football, I’ve played 40 years of football, but that’s not the kind of game I like to play,” said Azkals coach Thomas Dooley.
It was more of a loss than a draw for the Philippines, which is eyeing a fourth straight semifinal appearance in the region’s biggest football competition.
The Azkals failed to capitalize on the Singaporeans having been down to 10 men. Hafiz Sujad was sent off in the 35th minute for launching his boot right into skipper Phil Younghusband’s chest while challenging for the ball.
Substitute Pika Minegishi had a couple of opportunities to win it late for the home side, but could not grab it, allowing Singapore to force the draw.
“It’s a bit disappointing playing against a 10-man for most of the time and we couldn’t score a goal. But they parked the bus in front of the goal, it’s part of the game, I don’t like it, but we had 2-3 chances to score,” said Dooley.
“We should have played a bit more over the weeks. You could see every time we tried to play over the wings, we were dangerous,” he added.
The Philippines is now on a must-win situation against Indonesia tomorrow before its duel with defending champion Thailand on Friday if it wants to move on.
Teerasil Dangda lifted the Thais to a 4-2 win over the Indonesians in the other Group A match.
“I have to watch the game again and go through the details. It’s a tournament, the first game is always difficult, you hope to get two good games,” said Dooley.
Indonesia, playing on its first major tournament after a Fifa-imposed suspension, cannot just be taken for granted.
“We have to win against Indonesia. My chance against Indonesia is the same like most people. Hope they play a bit more offensively, we have to play better, be a bit more concentrated, create a couple more chances. Their game against Thailand was very interesting and they’re very strong,” said Dooley.