The Philippine Men’s National Team may have lost their first match in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, but they earned the respect of everyone after their match against Korea Republic last Monday 7 January 2019 at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Korea Republic won the match 1-0 with the only goal coming in the 67th minute of the match from Hwang Ui-Jo. The two-time Asian Cup winners, however, found themselves frustrated for most of the match with the Philippines pulling out all stops on defense.
“The Philippine team made a promise to make a surprise in the Asian Cup and they duly delivered,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr., who was in the stadium to witness the Azkals’ first Asian Cup match. “We may have lost, but to hold a team like Korea Republic for a good part of the match was impressive.”
Head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and Team Manager Dan Palami hailed the amazing display of the team against the favored Koreans.
“We showed (in this match) that this country can play good football,” said Eriksson. “We played one of the best teams in the tournament and created chances against them. That gives us hope in our next two games to do better. Even if with the loss, the confidence was high. They know they did a good job.”
“The loss gives us encouragement and motivation to do better in our next games,” said Palami. “We have gained the respect of other countries. They know that we are here to compete.”
The Philippines face China PR in their second match in Group C of the Asian Cup on Friday 11 January 2019 at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Photo from Dennis B. Mallare