2012 AFC Challenge Cup: Philippines beats Palestine 4-3 in the battle for 3rd

20 03 2012

Playing without star keeper Neil Etheridge, the Azkals scored enough goals to survive and win against the Al Fursan despite conceding 3 goals. Etheridge was suspended in the 3rd place match after getting a red card in the Philippine‘s heartbreaking semifinal loss to Turkmenistan. In for the Fullham goalkeeper is Philippine Army‘s Eduard Sacapaño. Sacapaño made enough saves to help Philippines win the high scoring match.

Phil Younghusband had a brace to up his total to six goals in tournament. He was awarded the golden booth after the tournament. The goal scores for the Philippines were the Guirado brothers. Angel Guirado scored his second goal in the tournament for a 3-1 lead at the half. Brother Juan Luis scored his first ever as an Azkal in the second half. Juan Luis’ goal turned to be the game winner.

Abdulhamid had 2 goals for Palestine. The third goal of Al Fursan was courtesy of Fahed attal in the 78th minute.

The third place finish in the AFC Challenge Cup is  big achievement for the Philippines where football lags in popularity to basketball and boxing. The good finish in this recent tournament will surely improve the country’s standings in the FIFA World Rankings where it is ranked 155th.

Azkals Celebrate (from goalnepal.com)


Azkals book a semis seat at the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup

13 03 2012
AFC Challenge Cup

Image via Wikipedia

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 sing the national anthem

The Azkals sing the national anthem before the match (via Goalnepal.com)

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.

Angel Guirado, Man of the Match

The Man of the Match Angel Guirado (photo from goalnepal.com)

caloycomment: Angel Guirado is in the center of attention again and this time, it is for good reason … MORE