Khabir brace condemns Philippines to home loss against Bahrain

The Philippine National Men’s Football Team suffered a setback in their 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup preparation when they were hit with a 1-3 loss to Bahrain tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

Mike Ott scored for the Azkals (’49), while Abu Khabir (1′, 46′) and substitute Mohammed Alromaihi (90+1′) produced the goals for Bahrain.

I could see in the first half we were a step behind every time we reacted. It was one of those games you can see the players were mentally and physically tired of the long season and all that stuff,” commented Azkals mentor Thomas Dooley.

It was a period to forget for the Azkals in the first half. Bahrain took an early lead in the 4th minute courtesy of Khabir, who took advantage of the Azkals’ failure to clear the ball in the box.

Kevin Ingreso then tried to level the scores, but his shot was saved by Bahrain goalkeeper Sayed Nazar.

Bahrain easily threatened the Philippine defense. The away side displayed good and calm passing to unlock the Azkals’ defense, as Philippines goalkeeper Patrick Deyto produced a fine save to deny Khabir another goal.

Misagh Bahadoran had a hard time creating chances to score since the midfield behind him failed to click. The only time the Philippines were able to test Nazar was courtesy of Manny Ott’s two long-range attempts, which failed to reach the back of the net.

Ott was probably the Azkals’ lone bright spark in that uninspiring first half, as the Philippines could have counted themselves lucky to be only down 0-1 at the break.

After the game’s resumption, however, things got worse for the Azkals. Khabir got his second goal when he rose above everyone else during a corner and headed the ball home in the 46th minute to give Bahrain a two-goal cushion.

Thankfully, the Azkals were able to get a goal back in the 49th minute. Mike Ott kept cool and slotted home the ball that came his way via a cross from the left flank, bringing the Philippines back in the contest.

Buoyed by Mike Ott’s goal, the Azkals showed better passing which tremendously improved their offensive play. Iain Ramsay tried his luck from outside the box and his attempt narrowly missed the goal.

While the Azkals played better in the period, they failed to create more chances. Every cross from the flanks was easily dealt with by the Bahrain defense.

Bahrain didn’t fare much better, however, and the away side were restricted to set pieces in search for another goal. Alromaihi had a crack at the Azkals goal when he beat the offside trap, but Deyto produced a fine save to thwart him.

Alromaihi then had another attempt at the Philippines goal, and he went one better at the 90+1 minute to score via a header. After ninety minutes, Bahrain ended up deserved 1-3 winners.

Dooley lamented, “We were always a step too late. That is because we’re mentally tired. The players are normally good enough, but when you are mentally tired you react always late. In the second half we played much better, but it wasn’t the day for us that we could actually turn those kind of games around.

The next game of the Azkals will be against North Korea on October 10, 2016 (8:00 PM) at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Philippines XI: Deyto (GK), Woodland, Ramsay, Ott, Bahadoran, Phil Younghusband (C), Aguinaldo, Ingreso, Steuble, Daniels, James Younghusband.

Bahrain XI: Nazar (GK), Abdulla, Khabir (C), Shubbar, Madan, Yaser, Hasan, Mahdi, Tayeb, Ahmed, Albana.

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