THE Philippine men’s football team failed to sustain its recent gains as it bowed to Bahrain, 2-0, in their World Cup Qualifying match at the opponent’s National Stadium in Manama.
After holding traditional powerhouse North Korea to a stunning scoreless draw in Pyongyang last week, the Azkals couldn’t even replicate the same result against a team they already defeated last June as they suffered the shutout defeat on the opponent’s turf.
The beginning of the end came early in the second half in the 53rd minute when the Bahrainis put up a fine team play that resulted in a shot from close range that went past Neil Etheridge, who then failed to save a free-kick attempt in the 61st that completed a solid eight-minute spell by the hosts.
The Azkals’ best chance came late in the first half when Phil Youngbhusband’s header off Stephan Schrock went just wide right.
The result left a huge dent in the Azkals’ hopes of advancing to the third round, leaving them stuck in third spot with seven points, allowing their tormentors to close in, just a point behind.
The Filipinos return home to regroup ahead of their next match against Yemen on November 12 at Rizal Memorial Stadium.