Thomas Dooley, the head coach of the Philippine men’s football team, was encouraged with the performance of the Azkals though their friendly match with Malaysia ended in a goalless draw on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
It was the fifth straight time that the Philippines-Malaysia match resulted in a draw, the first one happened in Shah Alam in June 2012.
Still, the American mentor was satisfied with the performance of his squad.
“I think the team did a pretty good job. They created chances and had possession most of the time. That is what we expected,” Dooley told reporters after the game.
“Obviously we wanted to win the game after 26 years but it was not that time to beat Malaysia,” he added.
The PH 11 last defeated the Malaysian squad in the 1991 edition of the Southeast Asian Games in Manila, 1-0.
On Wednesday, the Azkals dictated the pace of the game with more attempts on target but all missed the back of the net.
The Filipinos came close to scoring late in regulation but the last gasp of Fitch Arboleda failed to hit the mark.
Dooley was unhappy because they had plenty of chances of ending the drought against Malaysia but he’s looking at the more important battle ahead.
“Overall, I am obviously unhappy that we tied because I would have loved to win the game. But the most important game is against Nepal next week,” he said.
“We need to score goals to win games so our focus in our next couple of training sessions will be finishing. We have to win four games and we have to start with Nepal at home,” he added.
The Philippines will meet Nepal on March 28 also at the Manila venue for the third round of qualifiers for the Asian Cup. It will be the first match in Group F, which also includes Tajikistan and Yemen.