Nepal- The Philippine men‘s national football team popularly known as the Azkals lived to its billing as one of the most improved football national teams in the world by booking a semifinal slot in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup by beating former Challenge Cup champs Tajikistan, 2-1. The Philippines finished second in their group after winning against India (2-0) and Tajikistan days after dropping a tough 0-2 match against holders North Korea. Their group was considered the group of death with the Azkals bunched with 3 former AFC Challenge Cup champions.
The Azkals were controlling the game but conceded a goal before halftime. In the 2nd half, it was the same story but the Philippines were successful in two of its chances. Filipino-Spanish Angel Guirado was the star for the Philippines as he fired a perfect cross to Phil Younghusband in the 54th minute. Guirado’s industrious effort led to the 3rd goal of Younghusband in the tournament. Guirado pressed hard to steal the ball in the left flank before passing it to the wide open striker.
The game-winner came at the 79th minute as Guirado towered everyone for a fine header of a Phil Younghusband pass. It was marvelous game for Guirado who seems not so affected by the controversy that he is facing. Guirado and teammate Lexton Moy has a standing sexual harassment complaint from former Philippine Olympic Committee president Cristy Ramos.
Coach Michael Weiss was ecstatic with a victory. He declared that “This is a historic day! We have actually been making history throughout the tournament but that is not comparable to today,” He added “I am moved. I am honoured and proud to be coach of this team.”
It is great day indeed for the Azkals but their job is not finished yet. The Azkals will face Turkmenistan for a slot in the finals. Palestine and North Korea will dispute the other slot. The winner of the tournament will get a spot at the prestigious AFC Asian Cup.
caloycomment: Angel Guirado is in the center of attention again and this time, it is for good reason … MORE
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