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North Koreans expose Azkals’ fragile defense

The poor defensive strategy of the Philippine Azkals was again exposed after absorbing a 3-1 loss to the North Koreans in an international match at the rain-soaked Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Azkals conceded two scores early in the first half, gave up a third minutes after the restart before netting a consolation goal courtesy of substitute Iain Ramsay to suffer the same fate as in Friday’s match to Bahrain where the Filipinos also fell short with the same scoreline.

By ending the international window with consecutive losses, concerns over the Azkals form grew with over a month remaining before the country hosts the AFF Suzuki Cup at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The Azkals are bracketed alongside defending champion Thailand, 2012 winner Singapore and Indonesia.

Coach Thomas Dooley admitted their form would give them plenty of problems ahead of the competition but is confident that it can immediately be remedied.

“If the Suzuki Cup is tomorrow, that would be a concern for me,” said Dooley. “But we have time to change that, time to think different ways and we talked about it. I just hope it happens.”