DESPITE a dominant victory over Nepal, coach Thomas Dooley was left disappointed over the Philippin Azkals' dismal defense, particularly in the closing seconds of the first half.
Nepal’s Bishal Rai was left unmarked on the upper right side of the box and finished off a one-touch attempt to give the visitors some semblance of hope after trailing by three goals with 45 minutes of play left.
The Azkals managed to come away with all three points at the start of their 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign after a 4-1 romp, but that hardly eased Dooley's anger over a conceded a goal that could haunt the team once goal difference comes into play in the late stages of qualifying.
"I think it can be avoided, every goal can be avoided," Dooley said. "I’m a little bit upset at halftime, but even when you’re winning, 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, you have to have enough urgency to do something."
Dooley was particularly concerned with the Azkals' backline for conceding a goal in a match where they mostly dominated possession.
"Every single ball that goes close to the goal is high alert. That's the job of the defenders: no goals against us," the American mentor continued.
"I have to look that nobody takes a shot and nobody scores. I have to look at the tape, but I think it was wide open and we had three guys in the box," he added.
The Azkals coach hopes to address these minor slip-ups in the way they approach the little things like marking ahead of their matches with much stronger teams in the region.
Thankfully for him, he has plenty of time to work on it as the Azkals have until June to improve on their defensive issues.
"Everybody has to mark a player and we have to mark that player until we have the ball. We have to look at the tapes. Those are the things we still have to work on and we don’t want to get scored at," said Dooley.