Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Azkals rout Nepal

A determined Philippine team delivered on its promise to protect the Rizal Memorial Stadium and scored one of its best wins in home soil against Nepal, 4-0, last night.

Playing in their first game since their mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Phil and James Younghusband delivered the first three goals before late substitute Matthew Hartmann added a late goal in the 89th.

The 4-0 win, was the second-best at home for the Azkals since thrashing East Timor, 7-0, in the AFF Championship qualifiers in Bacolod in November, 2007.

But if not for the first half miscues, the Azkals could have reset that record.

Ian Araneta had a chance to put the Azkals up in the fourth minute but his shot on open goal was blocked, and the normally reliable Chieffy Caligdong also missed from inside the box with the keeper down.

Nepal got its first chance after Neil Etheridge failed to collect a freekick but the Fulham no. 2 was quicker than the Nepalese striker and collected the rebound.

In the 11th, Phi Younghusband, whose last goal on open play was against Sri Lanka in the World Cup qualifiers, again missed , while Araneta bungled another chance with a poor first touch in the 14th, allowing the keeper to strip him with the ball.

Then in the 16th, Phil ended his slump, slotting in from right flank off a wonderful feed from Paul Mulders, while brother James added the second with a shot from 22 yards in the 30th.

“Masayang Masaya kami. This one is for our mom,” Phil said in the post-match interview on TV.

In the second half, the Azkals took over from where the left, totally dominating the Nepalese side that at 135 is curiously ranked one rung higher than Singapore, which beat the Philippines , 2-0.

In the 55th, Phil got his second, slotting in a goal from inside the box with his left foot.  He could have completed a hat trick in the 73rd but he missed with his right foot inside the box, while a header four minutes later was too soft.

But there was nothing too soft with substitute Matt Hartmann’s shot from outside the box in the 89th. After getting a feed from Phil, Hartmann slotted in the fourth goal for the Azkals in the 89th, sparking yet another wild celebration from fans as the Philippines routed a team ranked 31 places higher in the Fifa rankings.

“Some of the international players are still tired from all the travel,” coach Michael Weiss said. “So you can just imagine what this team could have accomplished. You have to remember, three or four of these players were not present against Kuwait.

Dan Palami, the team manager, said he wants to make sure the team will be intact.

“I think it will be safe to say that we are a strong contender for the this tournament (Challenge Cup),” Palami said, while pointing out that Angel Guirado, one of the Azkal strikers, didn’t play due to an injury.


nat reblogger said...

Vamos Filipinas! Woooooo!

Arielle said...

Great game tonight! It would have been just fine winning 3-0 but stuff like that late Hartmann goal is something I'd like to see again.

Looking forward to next year and hoping that Weiss' dream team will truly be formed at that time.

Cagara plus Mulders plus Schrocky... eggsmiting!

Mike said...

Mulders and Shrocky, plus Angel too! (Guirado, not the former Darna)

Anonymous said...

Magnificent Game by the Azkals. After "getting-to-know each other" during the Singapore Friendly...Our Current Lineup is just showing its quality by thrashing Nepal, if they can stay together for the longest time....WC dream will not be that far away...