Michael Weiss sees ray of light with Azkals’ performance despite loss | Inquirer Sports

Michael Weiss sees ray of light with Azkals’ performance despite loss

Hopes are high that the Azkals (in light uniform) can turn their fortunes around. —PFF PHOTO

Hopes are high that the Azkals (in light uniform) can turn their fortunes around. —PFF PHOTO

A heavy dose of optimism surfaced with the way the Philippine Azkals performed on a rainy Monday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium despite a 3-2 loss to Chinese-Taipei in a friendly.

Five months since staunch supporters of the men’s national football team voiced out their displeasure over the Azkals’ decline, there seems to be hope of a revival despite contrasting results of their two recent friendlies.

“You could see the fans were like joyous after the game. They probably saw that we’re trying something,” said coach Michael Weiss after the second game of his second tenure handling the national squad.

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Chances of a followup to Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Nepal were high after the Azkals overcame an early deficit to take a 2-1 lead at the half on goals from Mike Ott and Patrick Reichelt.

But the Azkals couldn’t sustain their hold on the advantage as Chinese-Taipei struck twice after the break, including the winning goal of Ming-Wei Lin entering stoppage time.

“I must say, it was an absolutely deserving win for Chinese-Taipei,” said Weiss. “Then again, for this is the first part of my second stint [as Azkals coach], I can say that the first game [against Nepal] we got away. Today, we didn’t get away. But nevertheless, I think the potential is really there.”

The German mentor will have some time to work on the things he hopes to resolve, namely the team’s fitness level and the search for players who could execute his system.

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Two more windows

Azkals coach Michael Weiss

Azkals coach Michael Weiss. –THE AZKALS PHOTO

Weiss used the two friendlies to give chances to almost everyone in the lineup, familiarizing himself with remnants from his first tenure and fresh faces who took part in the window while also fielding youngsters like Gio Pabualan and Jared Peña during the crucial part of the Chinese-Taipei match.

“I’m not interested so much in the results, I’m more interested that we created chances, that we have opportunities, that we can put the gas on the pedal, that we’re doing something, that we’re active. And that’s what we’re doing.”

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“We took some risks with the young players because we wanted to see them. But they were also involved, were part in the downfall, but I’m not blaming them. I need to see in this window who can help us,” he added.

Weiss has two more windows before forming the squad he would like to have come November when the joint qualifiers for the 2026 Fifa (International Association Football Federation) World Cup and 2027 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup get underway.

And Weiss assured that things can only get better moving forward.

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“I think we can see many, many more positives in the next windows,” said Weiss.

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TAGS: Michael Weiss, Mike Ott, Patrick Reichelt, Philippine Azkals

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