Azkals’ World Cup qualifying hopes dim after loss to Bahrainis
By Cedelf P. Tupas
RIFFA – A tired Philippine side couldn’t replicate its heroic stand five days ago, conceding twice in an eight-minute span in the second half for a 0-2 defeat to Bahrain Tuesday night in Group H of World Cup Qualifying at Bahrain National Stadium here.
It was the second defeat of the Azkals in five matches in the qualifying tournament, but it could be the one that proves fatal for the Filipinos who remain third with seven points in their group.
Ismaeel Abdulatif scored the opener in the 53rd minute with a tap-in after a flowing move from midfield before Sayed Adnan doubled the tally eight minutes later to put the Azkals to the sword.
As it stands, the Azkals would need other results in the group to go their way to stand a chance of making the next round of qualifying. The game held so much promise for the Azkals who were coming off a confidence building draw in Pyongyang.
They also faced a weakened Bahrain side that was also coming off a heavy 0-4 loss to Uzbekistan last Thursday.
But the Azkals looked disjointed on attack and in shambles defensively in a frustrating second half performance. The win was sweet revenge for the Bahrainis who lost to the Azkals, 1-2, in Bulacan last June.
The Azkals fly home Wednesday night. They face Yemen at Rizal Memorial Stadium on Nov. 12.