Kathmandu: Crestfallen Philippines coach Michael Weiss highlighted the two defensive mistakes that cost his side a place in the 2012 AFC Challenge final as Turkmenistan came from a goal down to win 2-1 to reach Monday’s showdown. The Philippines edged an entertaining first-half at the Dashrath Stadium and went in to the interval thanks to Phil Younghusband’s fourth of the campaign.
But with the clock ticking down Arslanmyrat Amanov was given too much space and in the 79th minute the Turkmenistan Player of the Year controlled the ball on his chest before firing low past Philippines keeper Neil Etheridge, who was sent-off in stoppage-time.
And with four minutes remaining substitute Roel Gener was caught dithering in defence allowing Guvanch Abylov to rob him of possession and set up Gahryman Chonkayev for the winner.
Weiss pinpointed these two costly errors at the post-match press conference but said that the Philippines can bow out with their heads held high.
“Mistakes happen but this was a match we should have won,” said the German.
“However, we have done better than most people expected us to do and we have represented the Philippines very well.”
Despite ripping up the AFC Challenge Cup form book with Group Stage victories over former champions India and Tajikistan, Weiss was still left pondering what might have been as their dream of a place in the final were ended by the 2010 runners-up.
“It’s a very disappointing end to the tournament although we still have the third-place play-off and we will do our best to win that,” he vowed.
“It was an even game with many chances but didn’t take those chances. We didn’t kill the game off. We settled too deep and didn’t deal well with the Turkmen attack.
“I wish we could have been more aggressive but also remember that we had three players who started every other match that didn’t start this match. It’s difficult to compensate for that and with all this I think we were also very unlucky.”