PHILIPPINE men’s football coach Sven Goran Eriksson said he was satisfied with the play of the Azkals even after the 3-0 hammering they suffered at the hands of China on Friday night in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
“It seems strange maybe, but I am rather proud of my team even though we lost 3-0,” said the Swedish coach in the post-match press conference.
Wu Lei scored two goals as China dealt the Azkals to their second loss. Following Korea’s 1-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic, China took top spot in Group C with six points and a superior goal difference over similarly unbeaten Korea.
A defiant Eriksson felt the Azkals could have scored a goal and taken the lead but lamented that his team didn’t do enough to contain Wu.
“We played very well, and we should have taken the lead. Before the game I identified three China players who were very dangerous, and Wu Lei was one of those. He scored two great goals as we did not pay him enough attention and we paid the price because of that,” said Eriksson.
The Azkals, who lost to Korea in their opening match, still have a slim chance at advancing to the round of 16.
The Philippines is in last place after giving up four goals in the tournament, with fellow winless squad Kyrgyz Republic in third after allowing just one goal each in their match against China and Korea.
The Philippines will face Kyrgyz Republic on Wednesday with both teams looking to become the best third-placer in Groups A, C, and D in order to advance to the playoffs.
Eriksson isn't ready to go home.
“In the two games we have played, we have shown that we can play football. We are not going home yet, and we will see what happens in the last group stage game,” said Eriksson.