The Philippine Azkals must go all-out against Thailand to enter the knockout phase of the Suzuki Cup, according to team captain Phil Younghusband.
“The important thing is, after this game against Indonesia, we have kept it tight. We know after this game that we have to play very well against the Thailand side that we have never beaten,” the 29-year-old skipper said.
The Philippines’ match with Indonesia ended 2-2, the second consecutive draw posted by the Azkals in the 2016 Suzuki Cup group stage at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan on Tuesday.
The Azkals’ bout against Singapore, its first bout in this year’s edition of the tourney, ended in a goalless draw on Saturday.
With only two points on their card from two straight draws the chance of the Azkals qualifying for the next round is slim.
The team is currently the provisional second seed in Group A, just a point ahead of Singapore and Indonesia, and four points behind leading Thailand.
“We know that if we are going to qualify, we need to make history. I think we have to play our best game,” Younghusband added.
He also commended his teammates’ effort in their last game.
“I am always proud of the boys. They give their everything in every game. It was a disappointing result but we are still in it and we still have a chance to qualify. We showed good character coming back twice from being behind but we know that we should not be in those positions in the first place. When you do, you do. When you concede a goal, it is important that you get a hold of the game again. We always knew that we had a chance but we just could not put them away.”
Indonesia first scored a goal in the 7th minute after Stefano Lilipaly found the unmarked Fachruddin Aryanto.
The Filipinos retaliated with a goal in the 31st minute courtesy of Misagh Bahadoran.
The Indonesians once again clinched the lead in the 68th minute with a conversion by striker Boas Salossa.
The Azkals answered with a shot by Younghusband in the 82nd minute.
Younghusband added that he feels positive especially after notching his 44th international goal for the Philippines.
“It is my first goal in my new position and it feels good to be back on the score sheet especially from a free kick. I am just disappointed that we did not win but we live to fight another day,” he concluded.
No more goals were posted until the end of regulation.
In the first match, defending champions Thailand notched its second victory after escaping Singapore, 1-0.
The Philippines will be playing its final match in the preliminary round of the biennial football meet against Thailand at the same venue on Friday.