THE Philippine Azkals and Malaysia settled for a draw for a fifth straight time as their international friendly ended goalless on Wednesday evening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Azkals struggled to find a breakthrough against the tough Harimao defense in a game that was fought mainly at midfield before a few hundred home fans.
In the end it was Malaysia which had the best scoring chance as Ahmad Bakwan Mazri's blistering run late in the match almost resulted in the winner.
Luckily for the hosts, his shot sailed right.
Not even late substitutions from coach Thomas Dooley could spark a resurgence for the Azkals, who six more days to fix their finishing before opening their 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers next Tuesday in the same venue against Nepal.
"Overall, I'm not happy that we tied but the most important game is Nepal next week. I'm happy with the performance of the players. I'm happy with how we performed," Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said.
"It was kind of the last pass into the box which was a little bit off. Otherwise we could have gotten the lead in the first half. And after the first goal, that could have been easier," he added.
Malaysia head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee was naturally delighted with how they fared against an almost full-strength Philippine side.
"Our defense went very well. We were very organized. We were able to counter whatever strength the Philippines had," he said.