The Philippine Azkals may have absorbed a 0-1 loss to powerhouse Korean Taeguk Warriors in their debut game in Group C of the Asian Football Confederation(AFC) Asian Cup 2019 on Tuesday evening.
But still, the Azkals made an impression and surprised many observers with their game in their first-ever appearance in the continental championship.
And that’s after limiting the Koreans to only one goal throughout their 90-minute showdown.
Veteran player Stephan Schrock believes so.
“We surprised everyone, I think, with the performance tonight. They have a lot of good players, they are composed and technically, tactically much above average for Asian players. We are happy with the performance. Of course, we hoped for a draw or a win, but we couldn’t get it and we have to take it,” said Schrock.
The Azkals are now putting their game with Korea behind are now getting ready to face China, who began their campaign with a 2-1 win over Kyrgyz Republic.
China, which is ranked no. 76 in the world, will meet the Azkals on Jan. 11.
The Korea took time in their efforts to unravel the Azkals’ defense down their opponents and had trouble when Azkals’ striker Javier Patino became a threat with his attacks.
Then, Hwang Ui-jo knocked in the only goal of the game in the 67th minute to move Korea on top of the standings with China.
The Azkals had their best chance of scoring in the first half when Daisuke Sato won possession on the halfway line and floated an assist to Patino.
Patino’s volley almost made it, but missed following a timely save from Kim Seung-gyu.
Patino had another chance nine minutes after the restart when he forced his way free down the left and fed the ball to John-Patrick Strauss.
But Kim was around to make a comfortable save.
Azkals’ coach Sven Goran-Eriksson said they need to stay alive in their next game with China.
“Yeah, of course, it’s an extremely important game for us. Because if we lose that game, and probably if South Korea will beat Kyrgyzstan, then it’s over,” said Eriksson.
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