Unlike in the three previous editions of the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Philippines Azkals will not be in the semifinals
For Misagh Bahadoran, the Azkals should use the setback as a springboard to reach greater heights.
“Big disappointment that we couldn’t win this [game] and we didn’t qualify for Suzuki Cup,” the Global FC skipper said following the Azkals’ 0-1 loss to AFF Suzuki Cup defending champions Thailand.
Frustrated by the result of the match, Bahadoran couldn’t believe the team’s luck against a weakened but still formidable Thailand team. Nonetheless, he admitted they’ve had shortcomings on offense and attributed it to their elimination. After all, the hosts had seven shots on target compared to Thailand’s three on the night.
“This is football. We gave a 100 percent and they gave the same and they finished better than us.
“That’s how it is … We didn’t finish again and that’s one of the weaknesses that we have, to score goals and how to release the ball faster for each other to score goals,” the 29 year-old player elaborated.
Indeed, finishing chances has been a concern for the Azkals in the tournament. They ended up scoring two goals in 270 minutes of action. Only Singapore with a solitary goal recorded less in the competition.
Now that the competition is over for them, the Azkals have time to recover before going back to training camp soon. The next stint lined up for the Philippines is the third and final round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup which will begin late March of next year.
Bracing for what lies ahead, Bahadoran issued a challenge to everyone in the team.
“We should come back stronger. We need to play together as a team more. We have to finish. We have to score goals,” he urged as they seek to redeem themselves in the upcoming 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
For them to do that, Bahadoran went on to suggest giving players more time to build the team.
“We should be together more, longer. Especially now, most of the Filipino players are playing [for] local clubs so we have to be gathered together and train more together so we understand each other better,” the midfielder reckoned.