Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Azkals face Palestine today

THE Azkals will try to forget the disappointment of their 1-1 draw against Myanmar as they face Palestine in the second game of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup Group A qualifiers today in Rangoon.

Palestine leads the group with three points after blanking Bangladesh, 2-0, in the second game last Monday. The Philippines is tied with Myanmar with one point each. Myanmar will face Bangladesh today.

The Azkals need to win today to leapfrog in the standings as Myanmar is expected to dominate Bangladesh.

After taking the lead in the 76th minute on a James Younghusband penalty, the Azkals conceded a very late goal after Simon Greatwich gave up a free kick in the 93rd minute just outside the box.

Khin Maung Lwin sent the free kick straight through the wall past a stunned Neil Etheridge for the late equalizer, mirroring the 2004 Tiger Cup game when Myanmar scored in the 93rd minute to win, 1-0, over the Philippines.

Despite the late goal, Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss was satisfied with the results since both teams dominated each half.

Myanmar was on attack mode in the first half, while the Philippines was stuck on the defensive end. The trend got reversed in the second half.

“In the first half, Myanmar could have been away from us, maybe 2-0. In the end it’s the correct result as both teams dominated half of the game,” Weiss told

Myanmar coach Zivadinovic Milan was clearly disappointed with the draw, telling, “If the players play like they did in the second half, I will get young players from the Olympic team, believe me.”

The Azkals will have reinforcement today but the fate of two strikers—Ian Araneta and Yanti Barsales—was still not known at press time. reported that Araneta was stretchered off in the second half and was
replaced by Barsales, who in turn, got injured after a nasty clash with keeper Kyaw Zin Htet.

Htet’s foul led to his being red-carded and the penalty that Younghusband converted.

For their next two matches, the Azkals will field in Filipino-Danish Jerry Lucena, who arrived in Myanmar yesterday. Lucena is a former player of Denmark’s 19-Under and 20-Under national teams and will be suiting up for the Azkals for the first time.

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