PHIL Younghusband insisted the Philippine men’s football team was hardly overwhelmed by facing an Asian powerhouse in Uzbekistan in their World Cup Qualifying on Tuesday night.
More the quality of the 76th-ranked Uzbeks — the highest-ranked nation they have ever faced, the Azkals skipper believes they have themselves to blame for suffering a sound 5-1 beating.
“They were just a good team and scored two early goals,” Younghusband said. “You can’t give a good team a two-goal head start.”
The Uzbeks went up barely a minute into the match when Odil Akhmedov’s shot from outside the box slipped past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge’s hands and between his legs.
Their defense expected to hold up better after that, the Azkals instead concede another goal just 13 minutes later off Sardor Rashidov, who headed home a corner from the left side.
It was a hole too deep to climb out of by the time the Filipino booters settled down.
“We started to get more in the game maybe thirty minutes in and had we kept it nil-nil by then, it may be have been a different game,” Younghusband said.
“But to be two goals down after just fifteen minutes made it more difficult.”
Still, the Azkals star remains upbeat of their chances to advance to the third round.
“Getting a win would’ve made it easier for us, but it’s still open for anyone to top the group,” said Younghusband, whose team has six points and running third in Group H behind their tormentors on goal difference.
Only the winners as well as the four best runners-up among the eight groups will qualify for the next round.