Having a clean sheet going to the Nepal game on Tuesday for the third round of qualifiers for the 2019 Asian Cup was a big deal for Azkals’ first The Philippines and Malaysia had a scoreless draw in a friendly match last week and Etheridge was satisfied with the outcome although he felt the host team could have won the game easily.
The PH XI now braces for the real battle in the Asian Cup qualifiers where the Philippines is bunched in Group F with Nepal, Tajikistan and Yemen.
And holding a clean sheet entering the match gives the Azkals goal keeper the reason to feel positive in the coming match against the Nepalese.
“The clean sheet is important. It is a foundation in which you can build on and like I said before, if we got the first goal, however it may come, it is always the important one,” the 27-year-old goalie said.
“I think definitely a first goal could had dictated it. I think if we scored the first goal, we would have scored more. Unfortunately, we were not able to break the deadlock,” he added.
But Etheridge, who plays for English Football League One side Walsall FC, said the team played well overall against Malaysia but they still need to work harder as the Asian Cup is a different level.
“We kept the ball well. Of course, there were slight mistakes but at the same time, there is something for us to get on in the training field,” he mentioned.
“The mood in the camp is great. We look forward in the next game.
Hopefully, next game we can put out a better performance and score more goals,” he added.
Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley stressed the importance of finishing the game strong and they need to carry that mentality against Nepal.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES