AZKALS goalkeeper Patrick Deyto promised that he would step up his goalkeeping when the Philippines faces Thailand in the second leg of the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup on Wednesday at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 24-year-old De La Salle University graduate, commenting on the Azkals’ last game against the War Elephants said that whatever they have accomplished was a collective effort.
“A rare opportunity is given to me so I really have to do my best to protect the goal every second I’m inside the pitch,” Deyto, who played for five years for La Salle in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, told The Manila Times on Monday in an interview.
“I’m expecting the Thais to play more aggressive than the last time they played against us last Saturday here in Manila but I’m ready to protect the goal,” added Deyto. “At the same time, the second leg gives the Thais a home court edge but I’ll assure everyone that I’ll do my very best together with the team.”
Deyto wasn’t part of the initial 11 players that competed in overseas tournaments earlier this year. It was the team’s American head coach Thomas Dooley that gave him a chance to play in the Suzuki Cup.
“No goal against us is really great. In the previous games including the first semifinals leg here against the Thais, Patrick [Deyto] did a pretty good job protecting the goal,” Dooley told The Times in separate interview. “He is a tough kid.”
The Philippine men’s football team forced a scoreless draw against Thais in the first leg of the semifinals on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila. The draw gained them some advantage heading into the second leg of the semifinals in Thailand.
Before reaching the semifinals, the Azkals beat Laos (4-1) and Indonesia (4-0) but lost to Vietnam (1-3) to finish second in the group stage with six points from two wins and a loss.
“Our defense is the main reason why we reach this stage and we need to keep it up to advance into the finals,” said Deyto. “We are going to play in front of more than 45,000 Thais but we are all confident that we can go to the finals.”
The Azkals needed to post only 1-0 or 1-1 against the Thais in Wednesday’s game to make it to the championship round because the “away” goal is equivalent to two points while the “home” goal is equal to only one point.