MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals apologized to their fans for their 1-2 loss to Mongolia and promised to do better.
The players, who still made it to the Challenge Cup group stage on goal aggregate, 3-2, also thanked the multitude of supporters online.
"[J]ust want 2 apologize 2 the fans for the bad result today. the team is really disappointed by the loss. thank u all for your support though," tweeted Simon Greatwich.
"Guys, really sorry about the loss. Glad we qualified though," added Phil Younghusband, who failed to finish the Mongolia game after sustaining a pulled hamstring.
The Azkals will next face Myanmar in the Challenge Cup group stage on March 21.
The players vowed to redeem themselves in their game against the Myanmar White Angels.
"Thank you for all those (who) supported and I apologize for the result. I PROMISE we will redeem ourselves in Myanmar!" tweeted Anton del Rosario.
"Sorry Pilipinas, very disappointed with the loss today! The match is history.. now time to look forward to the next games in Myanmar!" added team captain Aly Borromeo.
The Azkals actually scored first in the Mongolia game with James Younghusband hitting the goal for the Philippines.
However, the team lost their poise later in the first half when skipper Lumbengarav Donorov and Garidmagnai Bayasgalan scored two goals for the Mongolian Blue Wolves.
The Azkals then showed better defense in the second half, thus preventing more Mongolia goal attempts.
But it looks like the apologetic Azkals have nothing to worry about as most of their fans understood that they played under harsh conditions in Mongolia.
"#Azkals we are very proud... of you guys on all hardships and endeavours..." said Twitter user Trinquite.
"Good job #azkals!!! Malamig man sa Mongolia, malamang mainit ang pgtnggap s inyo pgblik sa Pinas..." said another Azkals fan, Marlowemanalo.
Fans even defended the Azkals against critics.
Sportscaster Boyet Sison tweeted: "[N]othing to be ashamed of #Azkals, what's important is you always play your best."
"I see the #Azkals won today. Breathe, fangirls and bandwagoners. Stop bitchin' that we lost," Twitter user ningkee said.
Moving on for Myanmar
Instead of whining over the second leg loss, some fans wished the Azkals well in the Challenge Cup group stage.
“[T]hankful for the #azkals efforts & for qualifying but theyre apologizing coz theyre warriors. and warriors hate losing. theyre still hungry,” said user iprotacio.
“[L]et's bark harder tito @dscpalami and the whole team #azkals for next week's match. live the dream, we believe! Pinoy Pride! :D,” added kat_is_tough.
The Azkals may have suffered criticisms with a game loss. But for some fans like television host Bianca Gonzales, the Azkals still made the country proud.
"[C]ongratulations #azkals! we're cheering you on to the next round! thank you for making us all proud to be pinoy,” Gonzales tweeted. – Barry Viloria, abs-cbnNEWS.com