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Bahadoran: We’ll be back stronger



The Philippine National Men’s Football Team (Azkals) suffered their third defeat in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers against Yemen at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. It was a painful home defeat as the Azkals had most of the chances, one of which arguably crossed the line. A sucker punch at the 83rd minute of the match against Yemen condemned the Azkals, who were left to lament what might have been had they scored in the earlier parts of the match.

For Azkals forward Misagh Bahadoran, the Yemen result resembled the previous loss to Bahrain. Both games were characterized by the Azkals’ failures to capitalize on their chances. “One of the reasons why we didn’t win the game today is that we didn’t take our chances and mostly this is our problem: when we don’t take the chance, we receive the goal. Even against Bahrain, same thing happened. Yemen again. So maybe this is Football. You never know. You attack 90 minutes and then you receive one goal and you lose,” lamented a dejected Bahadoran after the game.

Bahadoran added, “So we were just unlucky in finishing especially, there was some handball. I don’t know why the referee didn’t take it.”

The next game for the Azkals is an away affair at Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan previously defeated the Azkals 1-5 in the Philippine Arena. Bahadoran was optimistic that the Azkals will be better drilled for that game. “I think we have more time to prepare for next game because we have three months. So I hope other players like abroad players they can join us much earlier not like two days, three days ago yeah. So we have more time to prepare for next game.”

The Azkals are currently on a four game winless run, three of which were defeats to Uzbekistan, Bahrain, and Yemen.

With two pivotal games on the horizon for the Azkals – Uzbekistan away and North Korea at home – Bahadoran wanted his team to keep their heads up. “Of course players are down but this is Football. Your attitude shouldn’t be like this. We should go back stronger. We have three months and then we will play against Uzbekistan and for sure we will be prepared more because now Philippine Football knows that this level is not gonna work like this. We have to work harder. We have to train harder. We have to be together more and then that’s gonna help us for the next two games”.

While qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup may be over, the Azkals still have a slight chance to reach the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. They need two wins in as many matches against Uzbekistan and North Korea to give themselves a chance to make it to the tournament in the United Arab Emirates. However, Bahadoran and his teammates have to recover soon to make that happen. Whether they can is another question they have to answer.


Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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