Host Oman handed The Philippine Azkals a stinging 3-0 loss yesterday as the Asian Football Confederation U20 Asian Cup qualifiers got going at the Al-Saadah sports Complex in Salalah, Oman.
The Omani side had the Group G match in the bag as early as the first half after making three goals to gain a share of the lead with Thailand, which also scored a 3-0 victory over Afghanistan in as separate group match.
Nasser Ali lit up the scoreboard for Oman in the seventh minute before Khalid Ibrahim struck in the 13 minute while Filipino goalie Lance Bench was out of the penalty box.
Ali Hassan then made it a commanding 3-0 lead in the 29th minute.
Just two minutes after Oman broke the ice, Ryan Kane Devine had the chance to level but his shot was blocked by Omani goalkeeper Mazin Zayid.
Teams who top each group and the five squads with the best second place results will qualify for the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan
Team captain Sandro Reyes admitted they need to play tougher if they want to have a chance at playing in Uzbekistan.
He hopes that once they face Thailand on Saturday, the team will fare better.
“Some positives, mostly negatives. I think it was inexperience at the start of the game. They came out faster and stranger. At this level, you can’t be weak and they punished us,” Reyes said.
“As I said, we needed to come out of our shells. They’re obviously the better team but they’re only human. When we realized that, we started to press, we started to believe to have a bit of a fight and we started to get some chances.”
“Obviously, another important match, another tough match but we’re going to learn from this game and come out better.”