Stephan Stephan Schrock of the Philippines tries to cross the ball against Indonesia during their AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup group stage match Monday night. PFF photo

Azkals bow to Indons in Schrock’s final game

January 5, 2023 Theodore P. Jurado 273 views

THE Philippines failed to give retiring captain Stephan Schrock a fitting send-off with a 1-2 defeat to Indonesia in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup group stage Monday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

With nothing left to play but pride after being eliminated for the second straight tournament, the Azkals were aggressive in the early goings but conceded two first-half goals to the Garudas.

The Philippines then shored up its defense after the restart and entered the scoresheet in the 82nd minute when Sebastian Rasmussen headed in the cross from Schrock for the hosts to pull one back.

Finally getting their second wind in front of 2,307 fans at the fabled Malate venue, the Azkals went all out for the equalizer as Rasmussen had another attempt in stoppage time, but the visitors were successful to preserve the scoreline.

“Obviously, we wanted to win for our last group stage game before we finish this tournament. I think we gave a good fight,” said Schrock after the match.

“I think the performance was well from all of us, from those who started and those who came in. I think we can all agree, that is a performance to be proud of, regardless of the result,” he added.

With the victory, Indonesia finished as Group A runners-up behind Thailand, which eliminated Cambodia, 3-1, at the Thammasat Stadium.

The War Elephants were actually level with the Garudas with 10 points, but the defending champions became the group winners by virtue of superior goal difference.

The Philippines, whose lone victory came from the hands of regional minnows Brunei, ended up fourth in the group with three points.

Schrock, who on New Year’s Day announced that he is retiring from national team duties, gave everything on the pitch in his 57th and final cap for the Azkals.

As the Philippines is moving on with Schrocky’s retirement, the 36-year-old midfielder is asking for patience to achieve the results for the rising stars led by Rasmussen and Sandro Reyes.

“There are plenty of good young players. But to be a good young player doesn’t mean nothing yet. You have to develop as a person, as a player. There’s many, many steps, many downfalls, many roller coasters to cross, and eventually someone will grow into that,” said Schrock.

“Maybe not the best football player or maybe not the most popular guy, I don’t know who it will be. But like I said, it would be unfair to point out someone from this group of the youth teams of the national team, because everyone is different from each other.”