The Azkals came down to earth after getting a 4-nil drubbing from Thailand in the Mitsubishi Electric Cup group round Monday night at the Thammasat stadium in Thailand. They were riding a spectacular performance in beating Brunei 5-1 at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum three days ago.
It was a terrible start for the Azkals as Thailand scored first in the 3rd minute of the game from a Teerasil Dangda strike. That soon became two in the 41st minute after the Azkals conceded a penalty which Dangda converted to complete his double.
The second half was no different. They were having a hard time stringing passes together as the Thais were pressing them high. The 3rd goal came from a long pass that was controlled by Dangda near the box which he passed to an onrushing Adisak Kraisom who hit the ball first time through the keeper.
The nightmare didn’t stop there as a deflected shot from a loose ball inside the box ended up in front of defender Sephenan Bureerat who calmly slotted the ball into an open net.
Change in philosophy
The Azkals went into this match with a 1-1 record and a team lacking in international match experience while composed primarily of youth prospects. Most of the senior team players who participated regularly for the national team like first team keeper Neil Etheridge are currently in their respective clubs in Europe.
It is not certain though if the veteran players will return to action for the Azkals as there seems to be a shift in team policy which will give younger players a chance to develop into the team.
The birthing pains were obvious as seen in the huge difference in class between the two teams.
Thailand had 12 shots on target compared to the Philippines two. They also had 59 percent possession of the ball.
Thailand is the current defending champion and are on top of Group A in the tournament standings, this being their second win.
The Philippines’ defeat now gives them a 1-2 record having been beaten by Cambodia in their first match which was succeeded by a win against Brunei. The Philippines need to win their last game to at least have a mathematical chance of advancing to the semis.
The Azkals have a final game at home against Indonesia. They need all out support from the home fans to get a slim chance or at least go out of the competition on a positive note.
Buy your tickets now. The next Azkals home game is at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on January 2, 2023 830pm local time.