Thomas Dooley was satisfied with the Philippine men’s football team’s 4-1 demolition of Nepal at the start of the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Dooley made special mention of the Azkals’ improved offense against their opponent and said the victory was a good start going to the next games in the tournament.
“Obviously, I’m happy with the three points because that is what we wanted. I’m happy that we played the ball nicely and we had great ball combinations,” said Dooley after the match.
But he admitted there’s still areas of their game that need to work on as they expect a tougher match against their other Group F rivals Tajikistan and Yemen.
“We could do a better job, of course but overall, I think I am very happy,” the American coach added.
The Azkals took the top spot in Group F over Yemen due to a two-goal advantage over Yemen. Yemen prevailed over Tajikistan, 2-1, in their own Group F battle also on Tuesday.
Team skipper Phil Younghusband scored twice early against Gokhalis although he missed the first penalty kick after a great save by the Nepal goalie.
Younghusband found the back of the net in the 21st and 23rd minute to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
Dooley said Younghusband’s first goal set the tone for the Azkals, who became aggressive with their attacks.
“When you play teams like that, you just need to score a goal to get things going but it was very, very difficult. If one goes in, it would be a much easier game,” said Dooley.
“You could see that after that first goal we scored, we created way more chances and we got more confident. That’s how the game goes,” he added.
Winger Iain Ramsay also provided the goal for PH XI in 27th minute while striker Javier Patino capped the Azkals’ impressive performance with a strike in the 73rd.
Dooley said they need to correct their slow start if they want to go deep in the tournament.
“It was obviously difficult from the beginning and we knew about that. Any team who has some space can play. Nepal prepared for three weeks in high altitude to you know they can run for 90 minutes,” he said.
Nepal’s lone goal came from substitute midfielder Bishal Rai in the first minute of the stoppage time in the first half.
The Philippines will face Tajikistan next on June 13 at the latter’s home stadium in Dushanbe.