MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals were unlucky to come away with even a point in their AFC Challenge Cup match against Afghanistan early Wednesday morning, with Stephan Schrock lamenting two lost scoring opportunities.
In a match delayed by bad weather in the Maldives, the Azkals were listless in the first half and had to deal with the absence of striker Phil Younghusband and skipper Rob Gier, both of whom were suspended for the match.
They got their bearings in the second half, but lacked a finishing kick and had to settle for a goalless draw against the higher-ranked Afghans.
“I am not happy a hundred percent,” Schrock said in an interview after the match. “We were delayed in the first 50 minutes, we were not there mentally and physically.”
“But after the 50 minutes, we took advantage more and more, so all in all we can be happy with that point,” he added.
Schrock nearly scored in the 30th minute but his lob sailed over the crossbar. Then late in the second half, his shot went just wide off the post. Yet another attempt by Schrock was saved by the Afghanistan goal-keeper.
“Yeah, I should have scored, maybe twice,” Schrock said. “So maybe, next game… I’m sorry for the team, but next game, I will score.”
James Younghusband also missed a great opportunity to score when his header struck the woodwork right before halftime.
The goalless draw meant that Turkmenistan remains on top of Group B with three full points after a 5-1 mauling of Laos. The Azkals and Afghanistan are tied for second and third, while Laos languishes at the bottom of the group.
The Azkals will play Laos on Thursday before wrapping up their group stage assignment against Turkmenistan on Saturday.