Dooley says Azkals will be ready for Thais in must-win match
BOCAUE – Philippine coach Thomas Dooley is satisfied with coming away with a point Tuesday after the Azkals salvaged another draw, 2-2, against Indonesia at Philippine Sports Stadium here.
“I think 2-2 is ok. They had a couple of chances with the ball maybe, and better chances than what we had, but 2-2 is the most we can get,” he said.
Though the Azkals had the ball for 60-percent of the match, it was evident that the Garuda were the aggressors after firing 14 attempts, 10 of which were shots on target. The Philippines had 11 attempts, but only seven were on target.
“It was an exciting game for the fans. Not so for the coaches, I guess,” said Dooley.
The Azkals are in second spot in Group A with two points coming from two draws ahead of their toughest assignment yet: a date with the defending champion Thailand on Friday.
It’s a must win for the Philippines if it wants to advance to the next round. But rather than be overwhelmed with the pressure, Dooley looks at it the other way.
“They don’t want to lose for the first time against us,” he said of Thailand.
The Azkals have yet to win a match against the War Elephants in the history of the biennial meet. The closest they came was a scoreless draw in the first leg of the semifinals of the 2014 Suzuki Cup.
Thailand will be coming to the match already secured of a seat in the semifinals after victories over Singapore and Indonesia. Though the duel is going to a no-bearing affair for the Thais, Dooley still expects the favorites to go all out.
“We don’t expect them at all to pull back and get some players some chance to play cause they’re already on to the next round,” he said.
For his part, Dooley knows the Azkals will be preparing as hard as they could to pull off the upset.
“I think the team will be ready against Thailand. I think that’s what we have to do.”
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