Philippines forward Misagh Bahadoran has admitted that his side put up a substandard performance in the AFF Suzuki Cup this year.
Being one of the co-hosts of the tournament, the Azkals were under pressure to reach the semi-finals, but after beginning their campaign with a goalless draw against Singapore and a 2-2 draw with Indonesia, the Philippines only had two points to their name.
Going into their final group stage match, the Philippines took on reigning champions Thailand and lost 1-0, while Indonesia stunned Singapore 2-1 to leapfrog the Azkals and finish second, which earned them a spot in the last four.
With Indonesia having advanced ahead of them, the Philippines could only look on and imagine what could have been if they had triumphed over the War Elephants.
“It was a big disappointment that we did not qualify for the Suzuki Cup semifinals but we will come back stronger,” Bahadoran said.
As for the reason behind Philippines’ failure to reach the semi-finals, Bahadoran admitted that their inability to convert golden opportunities into goals was to blame.
“We did our best during the tournament but we were unlucky and we did not finish again,” he said. “That’s one of the weaknesses that we have – to score goals. We need to release the ball faster to each other to score goals.”
With their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign now over, Bahadoran pointed out that his side will focus on qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup.
“I think we will have a break for a while before we prepare for the Asian Cup qualifiers next year,” the 29-year-old said. “We will study our games and we will see what were our mistakes, and then we can come back stronger.”