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Philippine Azkals Determined to Reel in Success Despite Setback

Coach Michael Weiss believes the Philippine Azkals can produce something out of their defeat to Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam as they now set their sights on facing Indonesia next week in the second round of the World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers. “I think the Indonesia match will probably be a little more open and we can risk more,” Weiss said after Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Vietnam before a big crowd of 10,378 at Rizal Memorial Stadium. Indonesia is the next team to visit Manila by way of a lengthy plane ride from Iraq, where it suffered a 5-1 loss to the host country in the other Group F match in Basra. Of course, enduring such a lengthy travel after a disheartening loss is no assurance that the Azkals will be able to get a result they want against the visitors, given the recent history of the two nations. Indonesia beat the Philippines, 2-1, last January in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup at Rizal Memorial. “Of course, the goal is to win and that’s what we aim for,” said Weiss after his first nonfriendly match since being brought back to call the shots for the Azkals. Weiss expressed satisfaction with how the Azkals put a gallant effort despite coming into the contest as big underdogs against Vietnam. The Azkals tried to score the opener in the first 12 minutes courtesy of attempts by OJ Porteria and Patrick Reichelt, but a scramble at the back moments later allowed Vietnam to produce the opener from Nguyen Van Toan. The scoreline remained untouched the rest of the way with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge authoring stops on Vietnam’s counterattack and one big missed opportunity from the hosts when Santi Rublico, a player for Atletico Madrid’s U-19 team, failed to convert a shot off Stephen Schrock’s long ball. “We are still a little bit behind, but we went toe-to-toe with a team like Vietnam considering the pressure and the chances that we had in the second half,” said Weiss. “A draw would have been a fair result. “Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the performance and I think we can let our heads up high because we left all we got there on the pitch,” the German mentor added.