Abu Dhabi: Philippines striker Phil Younghusband believes his side’s sterling Matchday One efforts came back to haunt them on Friday when they lost 3-0 to China PR in Group C of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
The Southeast Asians produced a magnificent display in their campaign opener before losing narrowly to a highly regarded Korea Republic outfit.
However, Younghusband feels the game had a negative impact on Sven-Göran Eriksson’s charges against table-topping China who opened the scoring in the first half through Wu Lei before securing all three points after the break.
“A lot of the players looked a bit leggy and tired because of the effort put in against Korea Republic,” he said.
“When you are tired, and you go 1-0 down after 40 minutes, everything seems a bit further and a bit slower. I definitely think the performance we put in against Korea Republic, especially the defensive side, took its toll against China.
Group C Matchday Two: Philippines vs China
“Once China got the first goal it was always going to be difficult because we play a 5-4-1 with the aim of keeping the scoreline goalless as long as possible.
"Against Korea Republic we were able to keep it at 0-0 until around the 70th minute, but with China scoring in the first half it made things harder for us.
“You start to chase the equaliser, chase the game, and lose spaces and lose discipline. And good teams are able to exploit that.”
China’s victory saw them seal a place in the Round of 16, while the Philippines, following their second successive group stage defeat, will now need a win in their final match against Kyrgyz Republic to remain in contention for a place in the Round of 16 as one of the best third- placed finishers.
“We have to win the next game,” declared Younghusband. “We don’t have to go gung-ho at the beginning, but we know at some point we have to go for it. We’ve got 4-5 days before the next game, so we’ll have time on the training pitch to prepare for the game.
“We saw the highlights of the Kyrgyz Republic match against China and we’ve played them twice in the last few years. Played them away, played them home and we got two wins. But this is a different stage, they may have different players, we have different players. It’s a different arena.
“It will be a difficult game and they have some players we’ll need to watch out for, but we’ll now have time to prepare for all those things ahead of the match.”