Azkals give debuting coach 1-1 draw with Bahrain

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Azkals missed out in giving new coach Scott Cooper a winning debut as they settled for a 1-1 draw with Bahrain in their international friendly on a humid Thursday night at Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa (early yesterday in Manila).

Phil Younghusband put the Filipinos on the driver’s seat with a penalty conversion three minutes into the second half but they failed to stop Sayed Reza Isa from firing the equalizer at the death.

“More than the results, this camp is really aimed at giving players the chance to prove that they deserve to be in the squad for the Asian Cup and the AFF Suzuki Cup,” said team manager Dan Palami.”The players are still adjusting to coach Scott’s system of play, but this early, we are seeing the team embrace the challenge.”

Cooper, who has had successul stints with clubs in Thailand and Indonesia, took over the reins following the non-renewal of Thomas Dooley’s services and the subsequent withdrawal of the former US skipper’s successor, Terry Butcher, last month.

Cooper assembled a crew led by Premier League player Neil Etheridge of Cardiff City, balik-Azkals Stephan Schrock and Luke Woodland, and regulars like Younghusband, Manny Ott and Patrick Reichelt and some new faces.