BOCAUE – Phil Younghusband admitted it was tough to unlock the defense of a Thailand side regardless of the visitors fielding practically its second unit on Friday night in their Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup matchup.
Already through to the semifinals coming into the match, the defending champion Thais had the luxury to rest some of their stars.
Yet the Azkals still found their defense hard to crack.
“It’s always difficult to face a tough Thai side,” Younghusband said. “They are still a strong squad. They are just as good (as their first team).”
Stephan Schrock echoed his national teammate’s sentiments.
“Everybody knows they have the best squad in the tournament,” the midfield dynamo said. “Whether it’s the A team or the B team – call it whatever – everyone is a good player there.”
The Azkals did show flashes of clever play, conjuring a handful of chances that just failed to find the mark.
“It’s just disappointing that we were unlucky here and there,” Younghusband said. “We scared them a few times, but with the speed they have, they can create something and that’s when they force a counterattack.”
Now, the Azkals have missed the semifinals of the region’s biggest football tournament for the first time since 2010.
“The progression of football has been there and not qualifying for the semis, it feels disappointing because we have so high expectations,” Younghusband said.
“We had such good players and we know the quality, so the circumstances of Philippine football situation at the moment, it’s not always easy.”