A last gasp goal by hosts Bahrain dampened a bit what could have been a good result in an away friendly as the Azkals begin a new era under Head Coach Scott Cooper.
The first half was mainly an evenly contested match in a warm evening at Bahrain’s National Stadium in Riffa. The visitors showed a glimpse of promise with Manny Ott providing the threat in the first quarter of an hour.
As the minutes passed both squads struggled to come up with promising chances with most of the proceedings proving to be evenly matched for both sides.
Rashid Jamal came close for the hosts seven minutes after the half hour mark, but his attempt off a counterattack missed the target as halftime eventually arrived with nothing to separate both squads.
Come the second half a golden opportunity arrived in favour of the Azkals as penalty was awarded when Phil Younghusband was felled in the box. The ensuing penalty was taken by Phil himself who made no mistake to notch in his 51st goal for the Philippines further padding his record as top goalscorer.
With the Philippines on front, the match showed a bit of physicality as time wore on with the Bahrainis starting to show some streaks of frustration as they tried search for an equaliser and avert a loss in their home turf.
The Southeast Asians were able to thwart the offensive runs of their hosts for the most part as they were almost on course to seize a crucial win away from home.
However, getting the win was not meant to be as Bahrain was able to come up with an equaliser right at the death with Sayed Adnan Hussain tucking into the back of the net past Cardiff City keeper Neil Etheridge at around the 98th minute.
Scott Cooper’s debut dampened
The friendly match served as Scott Cooper’s first time to handle the Azkals as head coach after former gaffer Thomas Dooley’s contract was not renewed while supposed successor, former England international and captain, Terry Butcher opted not to proceed with guiding the squad.
Cooper spent most of his coaching career in Southeast Asia particularly in Thailand and Indonesia heading football clubs. Before being confirmed as head coach of The Philippines, he was managing Thai League 1 club Police Tero FC.
Photo credit: The Azkals Facebook Page