Dan Palami left to rue Azkals lack of focus, wasted chances in costly loss to Yemen
By Karlo Sacamos
PHILIPPINE men’s football team manager Dan Palami insisted the Azkals hardly showed complacency in their 1-0 loss to Yemen in their World Cup qualifying match on Thursday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Azkals seemed to lack the sense of urgency despite being left in must-win situation in their remaining three matches, allowing the lower-ranked Yemenis to create clear-cut chances throughout.
Instead, Palami blamed the lack of focus against a squad ranked 32 places below the Filipino booters that did them in.
“I don’t think so, because we were able to create those chances,” the Azkals boss said when asked if the Azkals were complacent. “It was that lapse in concentration, which also happened in the early stages of the game.”
The lack of focus was evident in the entire match as the Azkals allowed the Yemenis plenty of counterattacks after going back on defense late.
“It’s a very disappointing result,” Palami said. “Much luck was on their side as well. But that what we should be preparing for: those counters.”
One counter resulted in Ahmed Al-Sarori’s marginal goal seven minutes before injury time.
“You should play one-hundred percent for ninety minutes plus extension time; that’s how you win games,” Palami stressed.
While they lacked focus on defense, The Azkals’ offense likewise left something to be desired.
“If you don’t convert all those chances that are presented to you, then there’s no way you can win the game,” Palami said.
The Azkals seemed to have converted their two attempts in the second half, only to be saved by goalkeeper Mohammed Ayash.
“I actually thought the ball was in already, at least in one of those near goals. But unless the referee says it’s in, it’s out,” Palami said.