The Guam national men’s football team may have failed to give the Philippines a tough test after yielding a 3-0 loss, but the young squad remains pleased with their performance Tuesday night at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
“We’re a bit disappointed with the result, but I’m absolutely proud of our boys for battling it out in the second half to a 0-0 draw,” said Matao captain Jason Cunliffe. “We had them on their back foot for a good majority of that half.”
The Azkals jumped the gun early in the match, with Angel Guirado blasting a goal in the seventh minute and Carli de Murga scoring another in the 14th minute. They dominated the whole half, preventing the Matao from attacking and swelling their cushion to 3-0 after Guirado hit another goal right before the break.
But the Philippines failed to score in the second half, as Guam became more aggressive, which almost led to a goal. Key defensive substitutions by the Matao, as well as great saves by goalkeeper Dallas Jaye, helped Guam shut out the Azkals in the second half.
“We knew the first 15 minutes would be difficult,” said Matao coach Gary White. “We had some bad marking which we really fixed at half time.”
Despite the loss, White believes the match brought positive things to the team.
“The idea was to come here to expand and grow as a team,” White said. “I think that this game has done a lot for our team’s development.”
With players of an average age of 22 years, the Matao ranks 194th in the world rankings. The Azkals, meanwhile, currently sits at 149th.
The Matao will also face United Football League squads Global FC on June 14 and Stallions FC on June 16 at the Rizal Stadium as part of their preparations for the East Asian Football Championships in July.