After just a few days of preparation under the new coach, the Philippine Azkals went out against Bahrain with a newly-found confidence in their play and were able to give the new gaffer a quite positive start to his coaching stint with the national team.
Hoping for a win in his opening match with the Azkals, Scott Cooper fielded the squad who sealed the AFC Asian Cup debut against Tajikistan with new inclusions Amin Nazari, Adam Tull, Dylan De Bruycker, Curt Dizon, Jovin Bedic, Louis Casas, and Nathaniel Ace Villanueva. We’ve also noticed the return of Stephan Schrock and Angel Guirado with the Azkals.
The Azkals fly out to Bahrain for training camp! 💪🏼 With the @affsuzukicup Cup and the @afcasiancup drawing closer, we’re taking all the training time together we can get! Stay tuned, Azkals fans! 🙌🏻
— The Philippine Azkals (@TheAzkalsPH) September 4, 2018
The first half of the match against Bahrain saw a change in the Azkals tactics as they have started utilizing short passes before gunning for a long ball for the strikers up front. It looked similar to former Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss’ method but an upgraded one as they are now opening spaces in the middle and up front before tossing the ball up high.
After a positive first half from the Azkals, they continued with more of it in the second half, showing more aggression in attack which earned them the first goal. After a good run of play, Phil was freed inside the box before being taken down for a penalty. Phil took the spot kick and slotted it past the keeper to bring his international goal tally at 51.
Everything was going well for Cooper’s side if not for a late goal on the third minute of added time. Despite the draw, it was still a positive outing for Cooper and his men against a tough Bahrain opposition who went on a barrage of attack towards the final moments of the match. The Azkals still have one more friendly in Bahrain before they head home after a week of training camp.
— The Philippine Azkals (@TheAzkalsPH) September 6, 2018
A lot of quality players might’ve been missed up by Cooper but nevertheless, he’s still testing the waters for the upcoming games that he will be managing especially the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup in November and the bigger AFC Asian Cup next year.
Since his infusion to the management, Cooper has made a ton of changes in the atmosphere in the camp and brought back crowd favorite, Schrock into the lineup. Not only did the fans miss Schrock suit up for the three stars and a sun but the squad missed him too. Bossing the midfield like he used to do has been one of the main points in their match against Bahrain.
Photo Credits: The Azkals Facebook Page