Azkals hope Vietnam defeat brings back ‘spark’ | Inquirer Sports
Lesson learned

Azkals hope Vietnam defeat brings back ‘spark’

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 12:23 AM November 30, 2014

Hanoi—Vietnam gave the Philippines a quick reminder that there’s plenty of work ahead in its quest to lift the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time.

Facing a unique scenario of no longer needing a victory with qualification to the next round already secured, the Philippines failed in its toughest test yet.

But the Azkals still feel the 1-3 defeat to Vietnam in its final group match will serve them in good stead as they brace for the knockout stage of the tournament.

Three nights after delivering a scintillating performance in overwhelming Indonesia, 4-0, the Azkals were given a lesson in consistency by a Vietnam side that went all out for a win on a windy Friday night at My Dinh Stadium.

FEATURED STORIES

“It was a strange situation that we came up against a very strong Vietnam team that needed to win and I think they showed that they were a little bit hungrier than us,” said skipper Rob Gier. “They got the early goal and asked us some questions on how to break them down. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it in the tank to do it.”

A win would have guaranteed the Azkals home field advantage in the second leg of the next round. They play the top team in Group B on Saturday at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila before flying out for the away leg on Dec. 10.

The Azkals kept the Vietnamese crowd of 20,000 anxious for most of the game as they dominated possession, but they lacked the cutting edge to break down the Vietnamese, who got men forward on the counterattack.

The defense was also far from its best with goalkeeper Patrick Deyto and Daisuke Sato culpable in the three goals that lifted the Vietnamese side to the top of the group.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Azkals coach Thomas Dooley still sees a silver lining in the loss.

“Hopefully with the loss, the players become hungry again,” said Dooley. “What I didn’t see  was the spark from the players unlike in our first two games.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Striker Phil Younghusband said defeat could just be the push the Azkals needed to reach greater heights in the tournament.

“I think it’s a wake up call for us on how difficult teams are in this tournament and we knew how good Vietnam would be and that if we make mistakes we would get punished,” said Younghusband, dismissing suggestions that complacency did the Azkals in.  “Maybe some players were a bit tired. But we know what to expect now going forward.”

The Azkals could face Thailand in the semifinals as the Thais are in pole position heading into the final Group B matches Saturday night in Singapore.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“It will be nice for us to come home to Manila take a couple of days off, forget about the loss and come back and put in a performance in the semifinals,” said Gier.

TAGS: Azkals, players, tournament, Vietnam

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.