Bahrain beat the Philippines, 3-1, in a goodwill match late Friday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Striker Mike Ott, who entered the game in the second half as a substitute for Kevin Ingresso, scored the lone goal for the Azkals four minutes after coming into the pitch.
“Because it did not work out for Kevin (Ingresso) in the first half, his position right behind Misagh (Bahadoran), that I thought of throwing in Mike and he did exactly what I was hoping,” head coach Thomas Dooley said during the postmatch interview.
Dooley also commended the younger homegrown talents who fought valiantly until the dying minutes of regulation.
He added that he would be giving the players a two-day break before their next game.
“We will give them time off because they need rest. In the game, you can see that we were always a step too late and that is because they are mentally tired,” Dooley said.
Abubaker Khabir powered Bahrain’ to victory with a brace performance while Mohamed Alromaihi contributed a goal.
Khabir scored a goal four minutes after the match started.
The Azkals launched attacks in the 13th and 27th minutes, respectively, led by Ceres La Salle FC standouts Kevin Ingresso and Manuel Ott but were unsuccessful until the halftime whistle.
As play resumed, Bahrain had its second goal courtesy of Khabir in the 46th minute.
With their deficit down to one point, the Azkals intensified their offense with a series of raids against the back-line of Bahrain.
Azkals goalkeeper Patrick Deyto had a series of saves but was unlucky to concede another goal by Alromaihi in stoppage time.
During their previous encounter, Bahrain secured a 2-0 victory over the Philippines in their final meeting in the second round of the joint 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.
The Philippines last won against Bahrain in their first match during last year’s qualifiers, 2-1, at the Philippines Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
The Azkals are scheduled to take on the North Koreans in another friendly match on Monday as part of their preparation for the Suzuki Cup later this year.