The Philippines caused an upset in the opening of 2018 World Cup and 2019 joint qualifiers after scoring a 2-1 victory over Bahrain on Thursday at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
Second half goals from Misagh Bahadoran and Javier Patino boosted the Azkals to historic victory against the higher-ranked Middle East team.
It was the Philippines’ first-ever win against Bahrain in internatinal stage, giving the country three points to lead the Group H that also features Uzbekistan, North Korea and Yemen.
“Obviously I’m happy with the performance of the team today,” said the coach Thomas Dooley after the game. “We knew Bahrain is a very tough team to play against.”
“I’m more happy with the subs, especially Misagh [Bahadoran], he lost his starting position but made an excellent goal, he could’ve scored thrice in this game.”
Meanwhile, the Azkals star Phil Younghusband, who was deployed deeper at midfield role, insisted that the win will give morale boost for the team before facing Yemen in their second fixture on June 16 in Doha, Qatar.
“We’ve beaten the second strongest team in our group, but Yemen will still be strong,” said the 27-year-old England-born forward.
“This game will give us confidence going into that game, and we know it’s not going to be easy. There are no easy games especially in this group.”