(Rizal Memorial Stadium)
8 p.m. – Philippines vs Bahrain
The Philippine Azkals paid dearly for their shaky defense and absorbed a 3-1 loss to Bahrain in an international friendly match held Friday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Aadem Khabir scored twice, including the opener four minutes after kickoff, before Marzooq Alromaihi denied the Azkals of a chance to salvage a draw when he struck Bahrain’s third goal in the second half injury time.
Mike Ott, younger brother of midfielder Manny Ott, had a dream debut for the Azkals with a 49th minute goal but the result should create worried faces from the team and supporters with over a month before the country hosts the AFF Suzuki Cup at the Philippine Sports Stadium.
The Azkals return to action tomorrow night against North Korea in their first meeting since the Filipino booters’ dramatic 3-2 victory in the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers last March.
Khabir put the visitors ahead when he scored off a short cross by Ahmed Madan. He doubled Bahrain’s lead seconds into the second half when he headed a corner kick into the back of the net.
Ott, who replaced Kevin Ingreso after halftime, made his Philippine debut a memorable one by flicking a cross by Martin Steuble.
The Azkals tried to tie the game by inserting youngsters Fitch Arboleda and Daniel Gadia but were punished before the final whistle by Alromaihi’s header that caught the home side napping.