BANGKOK – Four decades of misery for the Philippine men’s football team against Thailand remained Saturday night as the Azkals fell short against the War Elephants in a bad start to their Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup campaign at the Rajamangala National Stadium.
The Azkals surrendered two first-half goals in a span of roughly a minute, which proved enough for their Southeast Asian neighbors to sustain their mastery of the Filipinos and vault them atop of Group A with three points to show.
The Philippines hasn’t beaten Thailand since 1971.
Jakkapan Pornsai drew first blood for the Thais midway through the first half, before Anucha Kitpongsri doubled the lead a few moments later, sparking a wild celebration at the rocking 80,000-seater stadium.
Paul Mulders provided a measure of respect for the Azkals as he registered a neat second-half strike that was made possible through the efforts of substitute right winger Patrick Reichelt.
Marwin Angeles also provided spark off the bench when he came in for Phil Younghusband at the start of the second half.
“I decided to make a couple of changes which paid off and I think we didn’t let them come to their game so much anymore in the second half,” Azkals coach Michael Weiss said shortly after the match.
The German mentor, however, doused the momentum that was slowly shifting the Azkals’ way as he was sent off a few minutes later for unnecessarily throwing a ball at an injured Thai booter who was lying down in a dead-ball situation.
The infraction was a costly one for the Azkals as Weiss will be suspended for the team’s next game against Vietnam on Tuesday.
The loss left the Azkals at the bottom of Group A without a point, while Vietnam and Myanmar are sandwiched in the middle with a point each after both countries settled for a 1-1 draw in the first game.
The team also missed the services of Demit Omphroy (flu) and Denis Wolf (ankle),
From now on, it’s going to be an uphill climb for the Azkals.
The Azkals need to win their next two games for a chance to make the semifinals and equal the feat they did during the 2010 edition of the meet.