By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippine Azkals once again fell to the mighty Syrian team, 1-0, in the second round of the joint 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Despite the loss, the Azkals showed a better outing in terms of defense and ball control, compared to their first-round matchup where the Azkals gave up possession of the ball numerous times to the Syrian team that resulted in a disappointing 2-5 loss.
The Azkal offense was limited in the first half as Syria’s pressure helped delay the execution of Azkal’s offensive setup in the middle field.
In the 23rd-minute mark, Ward Al Sama cruised past the PH backline and scored a goal against Neil Etheridge to draw first blood.
After the conversion, the PH half time plan was to play defensively and let the offense come after.
It went successful as the Azkals had a few moments where they could have equalized but just failed to convert.
The Azkals remain with 7 points and still third in group A while Syria has a staggering 15 points.