The Azkals close their stint in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup with a 2-1 loss to Indonesia, as they finish fourth in their group. This marks the end of Stephan Schröck’s career with the Philippine team.
Indonesia opened the first half eager to take control of the match early on. A goal in the 21st minute by Sulistyawan gave the Indonesians the early lead.
With two minutes left to play, Ferdinan scored again for Indonesia, bringing their lead up to 2-0. Coming into halftime, the Azkals were in need of a comeback.
In the second half, it looked like Indonesia was able to hold the fort, keeping the Azkals scoreless for the most part.
However, with seven minutes left in regular time, Stephan Schröck came in the clutch with an assist to Sebastian Rasmussen, who scored the Philippines’ first goal of the match. With this, the Azkals were only down by one goal.
The Azkals continued to search for more opportunities to level the match, but Indonesia held on to end the match with the win, 2-1.
This marks the Philippines’ final game in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup, as they finish fourth in their group. Meanwhile, Indonesia make it through to the semifinal as they end the group stage second in the standings.
It is definitely a bittersweet end to the Azkals’ campaign in the tournament, especially as it also marks the final match of one of the biggest legends of Philippine football.
A legend’s swan song
Prior to the kickoff, Filipino football legend Stephan Schröck announced that this would be his final match for the Philippines.
“It’s my last game for the national team after 11 years,” he said in a statement. “Not many know the sacrifices I made for the team. Tomorrow will be my daughter’s first birthday and I missed all the first birthdays of all my kids. There comes a time when you want to have it in your own hands. I think it’s a good time to step down and enjoy my last 90 minutes of my Azkals career.”
Schröck is arguably the country’s most prolific football player. Since coming to the Philippines from Germany — where he was born and raised, and where he played in the top league: Bundesliga — he has spent 11 years representing the flag.
During that time, he competed in many games for the Azkals as he also played in the Philippines Football League. Suited up for the flag, he brought his international experience and used it to help the team win matches in various tournaments, most notably in 2014 in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers and the World Cup qualifiers.
Although he is closing this chapter in his career, he is still expected to play in the Philippines Football League, where he leads the Azkals Development Team. In addition, when The GAME had the opportunity to feature Schröck, he talked about his big dream and his plans for Philippine football.
Though his international career may be coming to an end, this is definitely not the last time you will be hearing the name Stephan Schröck.
Banner image from Philippine Football Federation on Instagram.