By Cedelf Tupas
MANILA—The Philippines football team fell in another crushing defeat Friday, this time against German third division team Darmstadt, 0-5, in its final test match before leaving for Colombo for its first round World Cup qualifying date against Sri Lanka.
The Azkals, who lost 0-4 to second division side FC Ingolstadt Wednesday, got off to another jittery start and paid dearly for it.
They fell four goals behind in the first 25 minutes in a match that reportedly drew around 500 spectators, most of whom are Filipinos based in Frankfurt.
Again missing the services of experienced players Ray Jonsson, Stephan Schrock and Jerry Lucena, who are tied up by club commitments, the Azkals surrendered one more goal in the second half.
The Azkals thus finished their Germany camp with two wins and two losses. The first victory came against Duren selection, 4-1, that was followed by a similar 4-1 win over Bonner SC Under-19.
Skipper Aly Borromeo said he was satisfied with their buildup in Germany which, a source said, cost P7 million.
“We learned a lot and we can only use this as motivation to step all over Sri Lanka,” said Borromeo in a text message to the Inquirer.
“Camp has been good aside from the traveling and the playing every other day.”
Borromeo said the matches against the strong German clubs have given the Azkals an opportunity to “fine tune everything before the actual match.”
Striker Phil Younghusband, who scored three goals in the four matches in Germany, couldn’t hide his disappointment about the loss, but said several factors have to be considered.
“Obviously we are very disappointed to lose,” said Younghusband. “We’ve had four games in 10 days and traveled for over 35 hours in the past 10 days and the conditions have been different.”
“We have played against four teams who are all of better quality compared to Sri Lanka and we have won two out of four games which should give us confidence,” said Younghusband.
The Azkals were scheduled to fly to Colombo Saturday, before the first leg clash on Wednesday.
The return leg is slated July 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, which is playing host to a major international football match for the first time since the 1991 Southeast Asian Games.