New Philippine Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – New Philippine Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley praised his players after they held a tough Malaysia side to a scoreless draw but sees a lot of room for improvement as the national team continues to prepare for the AFC Challenge Cup.
The visiting Azkals marked Dooley’s debut with a 0-0 result against Malaysia, a result that seemed to satisfy the coach.
“It’s a great team and it’s their home gave over here, and they are a technically good team,” Dooley said after the match. “So we were lucky, in the final twenty to thirty minutes, we were lucky with all the head balls and the cross balls .”
“In the end, we should have gotten the penalty, but we would be lucky to go in here and leave with a win," he added. “Overall, I’m happy with the game. I saw a lot of mistakes, but we can work on it.”
Dooley, who took charge of the national team just last month, fielded in a line-up composed of new players as well as members of the core Azkals group.
“For us, it was a very good challenge,” he said. “It was a great game for us, because we could see what we were doing wrong. We talked a lot about things.”
“I saw a lot of things that we did very well, for as long as we had the power and the legs,” he added.
Phil Younghusband twice came close to scoring but was foiled each time by the Malaysia keeper.
The Azkals will play another friendly match, this time against Azerbaijan, later this week.