A “makeshift” Philippine men’s 23-under football team bowed to a fancied Singapore side, 1-0, in the first of a home-and-away friendly series on Thursday night at Hougang Stadium.
In its first international training match as a group, the 23-under Azkals showed enough resolve after surrendering an early goal to avoid a blowout against their Southeast Asian neighbors, whose core is made up of Lions XII booters who see action in the Malaysian League.
Safuwan Baharudin scored the lone goal 24 minutes into the game, before the defense of the Filipino booters, anchored by Green Archers United booters in goalkeeper Patrick Deyto and defender Ronnie Aguisanda, locked in.
Philippine coach Brian Reid, who surrendered the reins to assistant Dan Padernal due to his United Football League duties in the country with Global, commended the performance of his squad.
“It’s a makeshift team. I’ll take a look at the game when I have the chance. Hopefully we can build on the result.”
“Proud of the boys tonight. Never stopped fighting and gave 100 percent ... we can take a lot of positives from today,” skipper Mark Hartmann posted on his Twitter account after the game.
Aside from Deyto, Aguisanda, and Hartmann, Joshua Beloya, Jinggoy Valmayor, Angelo Marasigan, Reymark Fernandez, Amani Aguinaldo, Nathan Octavio, David Pusing, and Jeremy Theuer started for the 23-under Azkals.
The Filipinos have a chance to atone in the return friendly on home soil, tentatively set on July 20.