Dooley, Azkals hope to learn from early Suzuki Cup exit
BOCAUE – The Philippines failed to cash in on its opportunities and in turn bowed out of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Coach Thomas Dooley rued his side’s missed chances, which led to the Azkals’ 1-0 loss to Thailand on Friday at Philippine Sports Stadium here.
“We created a lot of chances. We didn’t have the 100-percent chances, but we had six, seven good chances. But in the end, we ran to a counter,” he said.
With the War Elephants resting the bulk of their usual starters, the Philippines tried its best to capitalize on the golden opportunity. Seven of the Azkals’ 12 attempts were on target, but none of those found the back of the net.
In contrast, the Thai team largely made of reserves only took nine attempts, three of which were on target, with the most heartbreaking being Sarawut Masuk’s strike in the 81st minute.
“We could have won the game in the first half, but it is what it is and (Thailand has) good players. Even the second gear that they have is a pretty good team. Good performance from them,” said the American mentor.
Disappointed with the outcome, Dooley hopes that the Azkals could learn from this heartbreaking experience as they prepare for future tournaments, especially the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification.
“Obviously, this is not what everybody expected. It’s something that happened. It’s sad that we’re not going to the next round, but that’s part of the game. Sometimes, you have to learn from losses too,” he said.
“We now have to rest and plan for the Asian Cup. We need to have a good preparation, maybe four weeks for the Asian Cup qualification in March. We may have two friendly games before, but this team needs four weeks of constantly training.”