The Philippines head coach Thomas Dooley declared himself pleased with his team’s performance against North Korea in 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers on Thursday.
The Azkals stunned the opponents to a goalless draw in front of more than 41,000 spectators with a loud atmosphere at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung Stadium in one of the rare winless results by the hosts.
“Not anybody can force a draw in North Korea,” Dooley said. “We could see that it was a very difficult game, we know why North Korea are in first place. Very physical, very tall players, long balls in the second half, very quick.
“With the long journey that we had, people were cramping up, guys were cramping up, but overall I’m very happy that the team fought and never gave up.
“The players were playing with heart, never gave up and tried to play football. To survive with that kind of stadium, it speaks of the character of the team. We are still in business.”
With two victories, one draw and one loss, the Philippines currently collect seven points in Group H, where North Korea lead with ten points. The Azkals will continue their qualifying bid with an away fixture against Bahrain on October 13.