Azkals’ "sluggish" game due to sub-zero weather, analysts say
Post-match discussion on Studio 23
Football analysts said the sub-zero temperature in Ulan Bator, which got as low as minus 12 degrees Celsius, played a factor in the Azkals’ "sluggish" game yesterday where they lost to Mongolia, 1-2.
ABS-CBN News quoted Miriam Benitez, three-time Most Valuable Player in the UAAP women’s football tournament, as saying, "In the first half, you saw that they were sluggish. In the second half, I think Mongolia also started to slow down... The Azkals were moving but not as fast as the way we saw them in Bacolod." The Philippine team beat Mongolia, 2-0, when they played last month in the first leg of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifier at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
Kaya Football Club’s Rudy del Rosario and UAAP men’s football defender Paolo Buendia noted that the Azkals got better in the second half, reports ABS-CBN News. Del Rosario said, "We were attacking more (and) we had more chances in goals. Some decisions they made weren’t the best (ones) but still, we got the results we wanted."
Azkals defender Aly Borromeo told Inquirer.net, "Definitely the conditions took a toll on us... Our reaction time was a split second later." Meanwhile, Azkals Coach Hans Michael Weiss said, "The performance of the team should also be judged based on the harsh conditions here. It’s difficult when there’s a 50-degree difference in the weather you are used to playing in."
Team manager Dan Palami told Inquirer.net, "We would have wanted to win the game but to have survived under these extreme conditions, we should congratulate our boys. We must now focus on the group stage in Myanmar." Because of the Azkals’ 3-2 goal aggregate, the total score of the two matches against Mongolia, they will move on to the qualifying tournament in Myanmar that starts March 21.
Aly Borromeo and Phil and James Younghusband talk to 24 Oras after the match.