In the first match between both countries since the recent 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Philippine Men’s National Football Team once again failed to earn a positive result against China.
Scott Cooper’s men folded 0-2 at the hands of legendary coach Marcello Lippi’s China, Friday evening, at the Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium. It was the team’s first international friendly in 2019; the disappointing outcome shows that a lot of preparations are needed before the Azkals will be fully ready for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers
“It’s fair to say China deserved to win the game (because) they had most of the possession,” lamented Cooper. “For my perspective as a coach, we didn’t concentrate to start both halves, which is disappointing.”
On the back of their relentless bombardment, the home side deservedly broke the deadlock 14 minutes into the contest thanks to midfielder Xu Wi. The 30-year-old managed to find space to shoot in the Azkals box amidst a scramble, and he shot past goalie Michael Falkesgaard for the opener.
Lippi’s team then doubled their advantage early in the second period courtesy of Xizhe Zhang. The Beijing Guoan attacking midfielder struck from close range in the 54th minute to seal the win for the Chinese.
It was a disappointing evening for the Azkals as — a Mike Ott first-half chance aside — they failed to properly test goalie Junling Yan’s capabilities. Their night was summed up in the 69th minute when defender Daisuke Sato was ejected after he incurred his second yellow card.
“For me, it’s more about we possessed the ball a bit more, we passed the ball a bit more, we created a some more chances and defensively our structure was more organized than it has been in the past. We have to be positive about this,” added Cooper.
China XI: Junling Yan (GK), Linpeng Zhang, Zhunyi Gao, Lei Li, Nicholas Yennaris, Pengfei Xie, Junmin Hao, Xi Wu, Xizhe Zhang, Xu Yang.
Philippines XI: Falkesgaard (GK), Silva, Ott, Dizon, Woodland, Sato, Palla, Ingreso, Reichelt, Patino, Schrock.