Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Azkals beat macau

THE Philippine national team got its much needed win but didn’t get the needed number of goals as it bowed out of the Long Teng Cup with a 2-0 win over Macau on Tuesday.

The Philippines finished the tournament with five points, on two draws and a win, but with a plus two goal difference, the team had no chance of overtaking Hong Kong and Taiwan for the title. The two teams were tied at four points with a win and a draw each heading into the final game at press time last night.

Hong Kong, with a plus four on goal difference, only needed a draw against Taiwan, which is at plus three, to defend the title. (Hong Kong won the title after beating Taiwan--ML)

The Azkals’ two-draw, one-win, record was an improvement of its third place finish last year, when they won against Macau, 5-0, drew Taiwan, 1-1, and lost to Hong Kong, 4-2, to finish third.

But on Tuesday, the Azkals were trying to go for the five-goal win and had a dominant first half, only to be foiled by lackluster finishing on the offensive end.

Despite dominating the first half, and the shots on target, 10-4, the Azkals only had two clear chances on goal in the first half—both coming from Ian Araneta, who’s header and a right-footed striker strike from inside the box were both saved.

Macau had the best chance in the first half but luckily the strike from 20 yards in the 39th minute hit the bar.

Fil-British Mark Hartmann, inserted to the starting lineup two days after whining about his non-starter role on Twitter, failed to deliver when he got the chance.

But Hartmann played a key role in the two Azkals goals, delivered by Chieffy Caligdong who reprised his super sub role in the 2004 Tiger Cup.

After hitting the bar two minutes into the second half, Caligdong finally broke the ice, banging in his own rebound off a Hartmann free kick in the 58th minute.

Caligdong struck again in the 85th, showing wonderful ball control as he connected with Hartman anew to shoot past the keeper for the second goal.

The Azkals tried to push for another goal but the Macau defense managed to hold on and even managed to launch a final attack that was cleared by Roland Mueller, who had his second straight shutout.

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