MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals were visibly disappointed after their 3-0 loss against Kuwait in the 1st leg of their 2nd round World Cup qualifier, and they rued their missed goal opportunities against the tough Kuwaiti team.
"We actually hit the bar several times," said team manager Dan Palami.
"It's a very sad story actually, we had 3 very good chances in the 1st half," said Azkals coach Michael Weiss.
Phil Younghusband nearly scored for the Philippines in the 1st half of the game, but was denied by the Kuwaiti goal keeper.
"We came here with a goal, and we thought we had it," said defender Jason Sabio. "But we had a couple of unlucky breaks, and we found ourselves down 3-0."
"In the 2nd half, it was one wave after another, and unfortunately, (they scored) a late goal," Coach Weiss said.
Weiss said that if the Azkals had managed to avoid the late goal by the Kuwaitis, a 2-0 final score would have been "a fantastic result."
The Azkals now face an even bigger challenge when they go back to the Philippines for the 2nd leg of the qualifier.
"We have a tougher job back home, but it's not impossible," said Palami.
The Azkals will have to defeat Kuwait 4-0 in order to advance to the 3rd round of the World Cup qualifier.
"In Manila, we will give Kuwait a very tough fight," Weiss promised.
Weiss also welcomed the return of team captain Aly Borromeo and midfielder Stephan Schrock, who were suspended for the 1st leg after incurring 2 yellow cards in the Azkals' 1st round qualifier against Sri Lanka. -- With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News