2012 Suzuki Cup: Azkals through the semis again after beating Myanmar

1 12 2012

Supachalasai Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand– For the first time in history, the Philippines defeated SouthEast Asian neighbors Myanmar in an official football game.  The 2-0 victory also meant that the 2010 semifinal participation of the Philippine Azkals was not a fluke as they are once again in the Final 4 of Southeast Asia’s premier football tournament.

Phil Younghusband was very aggressive right at the get-go. His efforts to break a scoring slump were eventually rewarded at the start of the second half when he received a pass from Jason de Jong and evaded two defenders for his first goal in this year’s Suzuki Cup.  Angel Guirado added the nail in the coffin in stoppage time as he clinically converted a long ball to bring the Philippines back to the semifinals.  Goalkeeper Ed Sacapano was once again credited with a clean sheet just like the previous game against Vietnam.

With the victory, the Azkals finished the group phase with 6 points owing to its win over Vietnam and Myanmar.  Their lone tormentor Thailand won the group by sweeping all its matches at their home turf.

In 2010 when the Philippines were not allowed to host their home leg of the semifinals because the country did not have a stadium that met FIFA standards.  In this year’s edition however, Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila is booked on December 8 for the match between the Azkals and top qualifier from the other group.  It is expected that Filipino fans will flock to the legendary venue as the Azkals go for a historic final appearance.  Details on tickets for the match will be announced very soon.

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 Scandal: PFF demands apology from Arnold Clavio

16 03 2012

Shirt badge/Association crest

As media try to swoop in on the latest buzz on the Philippine Men’s national football squad, the spotlight has turn to GMA News anchor Arnold Clavio after he made some comments about the recent controversy that the some Azkals are involved in. In the morning show “Unang Hirit“, Clavio said “Hindi naman kayo Pilipino, nagpapanggap lang kayong kayumanggi, hindi kayo dito lumaki, mahirap iyun.” (You are not Filipino, you are pretending to be brown-skinned, you did not grow up here, that’s difficult)

Clavio was talking about the sexual harassment case that Cristy Ramos has filed against Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy in the particular segment of GMA 7’s morning show. The comments drew several negative reactions from Azkal fans and netizens. The new controversy even elicited comments from some Azkal members like Neil Etheridge.

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is taking on the cudgels for its players as they demanded a public apology from the network for the alleged “racist, discriminatory, libelous and malicious” statements made by Arnold Clavio. The letter signed by PFF President Mariano Araneta, also asked the network to sanction the TV host for his “discriminatory, racist and libelous assertions”.

Here is a copy of the text of the PFF Letter:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Azkal Scandal 2012: 24 Oras interview with Ms. Cristy Ramos

7 03 2012

Ms. Cristy Ramos wants the whole Azkals team to be punished for the incident before the Philippine National football team faced the Malaysia National team in a friendly last month. She already filed sexual harassment raps against Lexton Moy and Angel Guirado with Asian Football Confederation disciplinary committee.

Azkal Scandal?? Cristy Ramos accuses 2 Azkals of sexual harassment

3 03 2012

A sexual harassment complaint was filed by Cristy Ramos against football players Lexton Moy and Angel Guirado before the  disciplinary committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The case stemmed from an incident before the friendly game between Philippines and Malaysia last February 29. She sent a letter addressed to Mr. Lim Kia Tong, chairman of the AFC Disciplinary Committee.  The letter detailed her experience while being Match Commissioner of the friendly.

In her letter she said that as the Match Commissioner, it was her responsibility to check and verify the player’s identifications before the game. The Philippine National Football Team popularly known as the Azkals were at their changing room when she was to inspect the players. She narrated that the players were rowdy and did not take the inspections seriously.  No. 25 (Lexton Moy) stood by her said and apparently said “Must be a B cup”, the remark elicited laughter from the other players. No. 12 (Angel Guirado) was only wearing his briefs during his inspection while the other players keep on laughing according to Ms. Ramos, who is a daughter of ex-President Fidel V. Ramos.

Moy, Guirado, and the rest of the Azkals are now in Nepal for the AFC Challenge Cup. They will face North Korea on March 9. Last year, some Azkal members were accused of rape by a model but the issue eventually died down as no formal charges were filed while the accused players vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

caloycomment: Since we are now employing “professional” players in our national team then they should act accordingly… more

Reality Check: Azkals blanked by Kuwait 0-3

24 07 2011
Australia and Kuwait are still top of the tabl...

Image via Wikipedia


Kuwait – The Philippine Men’s National Football Team lost to a higher-ranked Kuwait team 3-0 in the opening leg of their 2nd round pairing of the 2014 World Cup Qualifying tournament.

The Al-Azraq scored in the 16th minute via a Yousef Nasser header. Musaed Neda and Fahed Al-Ibrahim added goals in the 66th and 84th minutes to clinch the victory for the hosts. The first half was close with good scoring chances by Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado.

In the second half, Kuwait was slow asserting its dominance and helped by the absence of Aly Borromeo and Stephan Shrock, Neil Etheridge was helpless in preventing the host country to score. The game would have been a lopsided rout though if not for goalkeeper Etheridge who made many point blank stops during the course of the game.

The next leg will be played in the  Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on July 28. The Philippines would need to win 4-0 or 5-1 to move on to the next stage.

caloycomment: Well, the game is a learning experience for the Azkals. It is really tough to play against Asia’s best teams in their stadium.  It is time for the Philippines to give them the same treatment when they come here. The popularity of football rests on the shoulders of these brave men. I really hope they will overachieve in their next match. Go Azkals!!!