IN SPITE of the 3-nil loss against tougher and stronger Kuwait-Al Azraq squad last Sunday morning at the Mohammed Al Hamad Stadium in Kuwait City, the Philippine Men’s Football National Team-Azkals is not unfazed.
However, the squad needs 100% performance to win the 2nd Leg match on July 28 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
This was the analysis of PFF-Suzuki U23 National Cup champion Negros-Ceres Team assistant coach Ramon Janeo saying that in the 2nd leg in Manila, Azkals need to strengthen their midfield, defense and the act of finishing.
He also stressed that the team would play better if skipper Aly Borromeo and Fil-German midfielder Schrock will be able to play in this Leg.
“The team needs to control and stop the attack of Kuwait’s left and right wings. We know that it is very hard for the Azkals to beat Kuwait in the 2nd Leg as the Filipino booters have to score 4-0. But if they play 100% game, be more aggressive and won’t lose their hope to win, I think they could win the game. We always know na bilog naman ang bola, so in football anything can happen, Janeo explained.
Menawhile, Janeo described last Sunday’s match to be Kuwait’s game.
“If we watched that game, we will know that Kuwait is stronger and is playing better than the Azkals. And, if we compare both teams using statistics, maybe it’s 60-40 percentage. The problem with the Azkals is they did not convert all their chances to score a goal. They have attempts, like that from Phil Younghusband when he had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper yet he didn’t finish it. So that’s their problem,” Janeo said.
“With regards to the transition, the Azkals’ midfielder can’t stop and control Kuwait’s midfielder, that’s why the opponent has the ease to penetrate and able to make so many attempts where they converted 3 goals. Also, the Azkals’ defense didn’t play well with the absence of their central defender, Borromeo,” Janeo added.
On the other hand, Azkals’ media officer Rick Olivares described that disappointment was clearly visible on every one’s face inside the Azkals’ dugout. The team knew that the squad faced a difficult task against Kuwait, the highest FIFA-ranked team they have faced since this current squad was put together, Olivares said.
He also reiterated that team manager Dan Palami said that third goal made things harder for the Azkals going into the 2nd Leg. But the team official stressed that there’s a chance for the team, as long as they keep their heads together and play perfect team ball.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 26, 2011.