MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Azkals striker Phil Younghusband failed to score for the national team in the AFC Challenge Cup final against Palestine, and was left to rue his missed chances after the game.
“(We had) many chances and we are still really gutted and sad,” said Younghusband. “This was a great opportunity for us, and we weren’t able to take it.”
Palestine beat the Azkals, 1-0, in the Challenge Cup finals early Saturday morning, with Ashraf Al Fawaghara scoring the lone goal of the match.
Younghusband could have put the Azkals ahead before the half, but missed a golden chance a few minutes before the halftime mark.
Still, Younghusband saw positives in the tournament, noting that it was still the best finish of the Philippine national team after they had placed third in the 2012 tournament.
“It’s a step further than we got the last time,” said Younghusband, who won the Golden Boot in the 2012 edition of the Challenge Cup.
“We’ve got the Suzuki Cup to look forward to in October and November. So we have to look forward to that,” he added.
Younghusband also hailed the performances of the younger members of the national team, especially Amani Aguinaldo and Daisuke Sato, who both got precious playing time during the competition.
“We know that we’ve got potential,” said Younghusband. “We’ve got young players coming in. You see Amani and Sato, coming it at 19 years old and doing very well.”
“The future looks good, but obviously we’re just very disappointed tonight,” he added.
Sato and Aguinaldo, along with Kenshiro Daniels and OJ Porteria were also commended by coach Thomas Dooley.
“They have a future in the national team,” Dooley said of the four youngsters. “It doesn’t mean we want to kick the old players out, but maybe the pace of the game will be better, and it is good to have a young average age, especially with young players who can develop.”