By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The Philippine men’s football team settled for a 1-1 draw with Indonesia in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Tuesday night, November 21.
Patrick Reichelt struck first for the Azkals as Kevin Ingreso found him all alone and chipped the ball past Indonesian goalkeeper Ernando Ari Sutaryadi and into the wide-open goal in the 23rd minute.
The Azkals had multiple opportunities to widen the lead in the second half as Reichelt, Santiago Rublico, Mike Ott, Manuel Ott, and OJ Porteria had their shots at the goals, but failed to find the target.
The failure of the Azkals to increase the lead haunted them in the second half as the Indonesians were able to tie the score in the 70th minute courtesy of forward Saddil Ramdami.
The Azkals still attempted for a late winner, but Reichelt’s shot went straight at Sutaryadi, and Rublico’s magnificent solo attempt late in the game was deflected towards the crossbar.
Reichelt and Azkals head coach Hans Michael Weiss expressed their disappointment for not being able to widen their advantage in the first half, which gave the Indonesians the confidence to comeback.
“It was disappointing because we had too many chances to increase the lead [in the first half],” Reichelt said.
“It was really unfortunate and disappointing that we cannot give the Filipino fans here a victory,” he added.
“If we bury the game in the first half with a 2-0 lead, they probably won’t come back,” Weiss said.
“The Indonesians were more established in the second half and that caused us so much problems. We have to be brutal and bury them in the first half,” he added.
Weiss further said their first two matches in the World Cup qualifiers are a testament of the current situation of the national men’s football team, which is way behind their opponents.
“We take it as it is, this is the level of Philippine football at this moment. There are things that we need to discuss. There are things we cannot close our eyes [to]. There is a physical deficit,” Weiss said./ASC, WDJ