THE Philippine Men’s Football Team-Azkals were rained by positive comments from Filipino fans despite their heartbreaking 1-nil loss against Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup finals on Friday evening (Saturday morning here) in Maldives.
Palestine will advance to the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia joining defending champion Japan, Jordan and Iraq in Group D.
Palestine’s Ashraf Alfawaghra scored a free kick in the 59th minute eluding goalie Roland Muller's gloves after Jason de Jong committed a foul outside the box.
Aggressive offense and tough defense of the Palestinians put the Azkals at bay, losing several chances to score goals and getting frustrated as the game wore on.
Phil Younghusband rushed a shot on a one-on-one against Palestine keeper and skipper Ramzi Saleh inside the box in the 41st minute, but the ball went sailing over the bar.
Paul Mulders got another opportunity for an Azkals’ goal but his shot went wide on the right post.
Despite the defeat, the Azkals fans stood behind the team – comforting the heavy hearts of the players with encouraging messages on social media.
National team head coach Tomas Dooley's decision was defended by Filipino fans and the Azkals' mentor lauded the national squad for giving a good fight despite the injuries and projected a brighter future for the Azkals.
First choice keeper Neil Etheridge was injured after the scoreless draw against Afganistan in the opener. Central defender Juani Guirado was pulled out from the pitch after he suffered an injury against Laos.
Fil-German midfielder Stephan Schrock was also pulled out in the finals’ second half due to hamstring injury. (HGD)