By Nanette Guadalquiver
BACOLOD CITY — With the match against China ending in a scoreless draw, Philippine Azkals mentor Scott Cooper said they are happy with the result and moving forward to the upcoming matches in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.
“With the performance we put (on Tuesday night), we showed good tactics, resilience, and a way to go forward. We are happy with the result because we wanted to win. We are satisfied with the draw, we are pleased with the (team’s) performance,” Cooper said in a press conference after the match at the Panaad Stadium here.
Cooper, who also spoke for head coach Goran Milojevic, said they have been always confident they can do something good in their home match, after losing to China in previous away matches in Dubai and Guangzhou.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who was named “Man of the Match”, said the Azkals did “very well” defensively and though they knew they would not dominate the game, they were “very close to scoring.”
“China is obviously a very good team, highly-ranked. But we stood on our own two feet. We defended very well, we had chances. I made a couple of saves, but nothing drastic. To me, that was a massive team performance,” the Filipino-British goalie added.
Etheridge, 29, who suits up for Championship club Cardiff City, said he is proud of the Filipino squad and they will be “giving more for the rest of the competition”.
China head coach Marcello Lippi said, “it’s a pity” they could not create many chances and had problems finding space as the opponent was defending all the time, especially in the first half.
“Every match is a different story. It’s our mistake we could not score a goal during the 90 minutes,” he added.
In Group A, the Philippines is in the third spot with four points, behind Syria, which has nine points, and China with seven.
The Azkals will face the Maldives next in an away match on November 14, before playing against Syria in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on November 19. (PNA)