FRESH START. The Philippine Azkals start their preparations with a friendly against the Bahrain national team. File photo from the Philippine Football Federation
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals settled for a draw against familiar foe Bahrain, 1-1, in a FIFA international friendly match on Friday, September 7 at the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa.
Phil Younghusband opened the scoreline by doing damage from the spot again in the 49th minute for his 51st international goal for the Philippines.
Momentum slightly shifted when defender Carlos de Murga went down in the 77th minute. Bahrain had a chance in the 86th minute when goalkeeper Neil Etheridge went out of line but fumbled with the save, but De Murga was there on the spot to clear the header.
Bahrain made a last ditch attack at death, capitalizing on an open goal to level the match right before the final whistle blew. This still betters the result of their last friendly meeting in 2016 where the Philippines lost 1-3 to the host country.
This is the start to the Philippine national men's football team's preparations for their major tournaments – the 2018 Suzuki Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates.
Scott Cooper made his debut as the Azkals head coach, while midfielder Stephan Schrock, Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland made their return to the team.
In the scoreless first half, the Nationals had an early chance in the 16th minute thanks to Manny Ott's free kick which was punched out for a corner, paving the way for him to almost score with a corner kick.
Bahrain also gave a slight scare in the 37th minute with a counterattack that led to host team creating a chance for Rashid Jamal to fire at the edge of the box, but it sailed just wide. – Rappler.com