By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippine Azkals failed to find the back of the net during their 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers third-round clash against Yemen and ended the match in a scoreless draw held at the MFF Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Despite a newly formed roster with only several weeks of training under new head coach Thomas Dooley, the Filipino booters still showed positive signs and were close to sending in goals against Yemen.
It was the Azkals who took control of the pace of the match from the get-go and were aggressive in executing their offensive sets.
However, the Filipino strikers still couldn’t break through Yemen’s tough interior defense and would always get disrupted just before they could get into the penalty area.
The Azkals made adjustments during the halftime break and ramped up their intensity slicing through Yemen’s defense and finally got inside courtesy of their crisp tap-passing.
During the 58th mark of the match, the Azkals had the chance to draw first blood but Kenshiro Daniels blew his header attempt that was made off a corner kick possession.
The Azkals again had another crystal clear chance of putting up a score on the board when naturalized striker Bienvenido Marañon got past his defender but Yemen’s goalkeeper was quick to save the kick.
After Yemen’s great defensive hold for the next 10 minutes, the Azkals again broke loose and went rushing to the opposite goal post but were denied of a score for the third-straight time.
Azkals pioneer and veteran goalkeeper Neil Etheridge then sealed the game after denying Yemen of a goal with seven minutes left in the match.
The Philippine national team will look to regroup and go back to the drawing board as they are set to face Mongolia tomorrow.