The Philippine Azkals were handed a 1-0 defeat by Bahrain on Tuesday in their final international friendly match before next month’s World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Ibrahim Al-Khatal scored the lone goal with a header off a cross as the Azkals fell short against the host side at Al Muharraq Stadium in Arad.
Coach Michael Weiss’ squad wrapped up their Middle East camp that served as final preparations for the Asian Qualifiers with the Azkals hosting Vietnam at Rizal Memorial Stadium and facing Indonesia in an away match in mid-November.
The camp also saw the Azkals defeating Kyrgyzstan, 1-0, two days prior in an unofficial friendly.
Only 16 players were in uniform for the match, with Jefferson Tabinas and Dennis Villanueva getting the starting nod in their first international appearance since Weiss’ return to the Azkals touchline.
Neil Etheridge started between the sticks while the rest of the starting 11 includes Enrique Linares, Kevin Ingreso, Mike Ott, Bienvenido Maranon, OJ Porteria, Cholo Bugas, Kenshiro Daniels and Patrick Reichelt.
Stephan Schrock, Sandro Reyes, Jesse Curran, Patrick Deyto and Kevin Ray Mendoza were on the bench for the Azkals.
Al-Khatal came through in the 16th minute by heading a pass from the right flank as the Azkals couldn’t prevent the goal despite Etheridge and three defenders almost marking the Bahraini player.
A second goal by Bahrain at the hour mark was disallowed due to an offside flag.
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