Azkals get Michael Weiss' second reign off to winning start as Jarvey Gayoso, Patrick Deyto shine

Jarvey Gayoso scored the only goal of the game to help Philippines down Nepal 1-0 on June 15, 2023 and get Michael Weiss' second reign in charge of the Azkals off to a winning start. RM Chua/PFF

Michael Weiss' second tour of duty with the Philippines men's football team got off to a promising start after the Azkals eked out a tough 1-0 win over visiting Nepal on Thursday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Substitute Jarvey Gayoso provided the lone goal in the 49th minute, coaxing the ball into the back of the net despite being in a seated position following a mad scramble in front of the goal.

Nepal pressed hard for the equalizer for the rest of the match, but goalkeeper Patrick Deyto was up to the task, coming up with several crucial saves in the last 20 minutes.

"I want to thank Patrick for his excellent performance," Weiss said of his custodian, who was named man of the match.

""I'm very happy. I was critical during the game and also in the run-up to the game. This is how I am. He can be a little bit more active. He's trying, but he saved us -- so congrats (to him on a) very good game.

"He has good experience. He's very composed. Sometimes too composed."

The win snapped a four-match losing streak for the Azkals, while handing Nepal its first loss in six matches.

But while it will officially go down as a win, Weiss was far from satisfied as he added: "You could see that people had come from holidays. They weren't in good shape.

"If this is the case, you cannot put into reality what you want to put on the board. It's just not realistic. We could see that today. We were very lucky.

"I played Nepal with my previous team (Laos) in March, two games. So we studied them well, but we could not go into pressing situations because of (a) lack of power. We could not keep the ball."

Weiss, though, was happy to see improvement in many of the players.

"I can see the players, they improved a lot," he stressed. "Unfortunately they're not in very good condition. But I think the potential is really there, and I'm very positive for the future."

In a departure from previous coach Josep Ferre's youth movement at the most recent AFF Championship, Weiss recalled several veterans to the pool, with many of them providing quality play.

Aside from Deyto, returning to the starting XI were veterans Martin Steuble, Kevin Ingreso, Mike Ott, OJ Porteria, Daisuke Sato and Carli de Murga.

The Azkals take on Chinese Taipei in another friendly on Monday as they begin to ramp up their preparations for the Asian qualifiers of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

"The games against Nepal and Chinese Taipei will open the eyes on what is needed, what is required, which positions need to step up," Weiss concluded.

Match notes:

  • It was Deyto's first international cap in nearly ten years, and first game on home soil in nearly four. He was playing in Thailand when the pandemic broke out in 2020 and was stuck there for over two years with his family. Meanwhile, the team's top goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, did color commentary. It's still not sure who will man the sticks for the Azkals on Monday. "I'm so happy to be back," Deyto said. "It's been four years since I've been home. There was a lot of issues with my previous clubs."

  • Stephan Schrock, who previously announced his retirement from the national team six months ago after the Azkals were ousted from the AFF Championship, entered the match in the 73rd minute to cheers from the crowd of 3,000.

  • Patrick Reichelt had to be stretchered off the field after a collision with Nepalese defender Bimal Pandey towards the end of the first half left him with a bloodied forehead. Reichelt had just come in for Steuble. He was replaced by eventual goal scorer Gayoso.

  • The Azkals dominated possession, 70% to 30%, and had more shots, 17-8, and shots on goal, 9-4.