|RIZAL MEMORIAL STADIUM, MANILA, PHILIPPINES
By Khalis Rifhan
The Philippines’ backline proved to be defiant and resolute as they held three-time champions Singapore to a goal-less draw in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final on home soil.
Speaking at the post-match conference, coach Michael Weiss said his team had let their opponents play their football in the first half.
“We saw two different halves in the game: [in the] first half our team was scared and played too deep, inviting Singapore to come at us and play their long balls,” Weiss said.
“I wish the team had pushed up earlier. We made a change after the break [and] brought in a new player [Marwin Angles] and he did a good job for us.
“Overall it was a good performance, and we can get better. But it is not easy with many matches in a few days. But we will have Jerry Lucerna for [the] second leg.”
Weiss was upbeat about his side's chances, and looked forward to the second leg despite having to play on an artificial turf at Jalan Besar Stadium, citing his solid defence as a confidence-booster.
“The result is good for us and [it will] not [be] easy for Singapore in [the] second leg," he said.
“If we score a goal there, they would have to score two more. A victory or a score draw in [the] second leg will be good for us.”
With no rest in sight for the Azkals as they travel to Singapore on Monday and play two days after, Weiss hopes that his team will be fit for the game.
“[The most] important [thing] now is the recovery. We have to replenish our energy and get back into shape. But nevertheless, I regard our chances to be very good," the German asserted.
“If each player can raise a level up for [the] next game, I am confident.”