2012 Singapore Cup quarterfinals first leg: Loyola Meralco Sparks beat Kanbawza FC 3-1

5 07 2012

Sparks wins 3-1 in their Singapore Cup QF first leg (photo from interaksyon.com)

Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore – After a disappointing 3rd place finish in the United Football League (UFL), the Loyola Meralco Sparks somehow vented their frustrations to Myanmar‘s Kanbawza FC  and beat them 3-1, in the first leg of their quarterfinal pairing of the 2012 Singapore Cup.  The Sparks survived a very physical match against a tough Myanmar side who were reduced to nine players by the end of 90 minutes after Hia Aye Htwe and Kyaw Zayar Win earned cards from vicious fouls.

Philippine Azkal regular Phil Younghusband opened the scoring for the Loyola 11 by scoring from a great cross by South Korean Jeong Byeong-yeol in the 15th minute. Kanbawza FC then suffered a major blow early in the game when starting goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Htet  have to be substituted by Yawai Zin after getting injured trying to stop the Sparks first score.

Kanbawza FC were hard-pressed to equalize and they were the more aggressive side in the first half.  In the 33rd minute striker Soe Min Oo had a good attempt at the goal but he was called offside. In the 41st minute, Kyaw Zayar Win got his first yellow card after being booked for diving inside the penalty area. With calls not going their way, the Myanmar side grew very frustrated and it led to a red card to Hia Aye Htwe who got tangled with James Younghusband just before the halftime whistle.

Despite playing with just ten men, it was the Myanmar 11 who first had a serious attempt in the final half as Soe Min Oo had another attempt but was cleared by Andres Gonzales just a few minutes at the start of the new half.  Matthew Hartmann, however, doubled the lead of Meralco in the 66th minute by finishing an elegant cross from the left by Phil Younghusband. Three minutes later, Kanbawza FC were down to 9 men after Kyaw Zayar Win earned another yellow card after a foul on Park Min-ho.  Kanbawza though refused to give up without a fight as they scored in the 75th minute when national team striker Soe Min Oo connected with Brazilian Tercio Machado.

The Younghusbands though, combined to give an insurance goal for the Philippine side in injury time.  James Younghusband scored from an impressive one-two with brother Phil giving the Loyola Meralco Sparks a formidable lead going to their second leg match on Sunday.

Philippine Azkals blank Nepal 4-0 in friendly match

12 10 2011

Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila – The 166th ranked Philippines played a friendly with the 135th ranked Nepal yesterday. The home side gave the visitors a rude welcome as the Azkals blanked the Gorkhalis 4-0. The game marked the local debut of some of the newest recruits by the Azkals.

The first half was marked by goals by the Younghusband brothers. Phil Younghusband struck fist in the 17th minute as he made good move to outwit Nepalese goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu. In the 28th minute, brother James scored his 7th international goal via a fine strike just aside the area. The Philippines had a comfortable 2-nil by halftime.

In the second half, new acquisition Dennis Cagara showed why he is one of the most highly touted Filipino midfield prospects as he set the table for the Azkal goals in the second half. His technique is evident as he sent a fine cross to Phil Younghusband in the 55th minute. Younghusband completed his brace by shooting the ball away from the diving Limbu. The Cagara-Younghusband combination figured well in another goal before the end of the game. Cagara made another superb cross to Younghusband in 89th minute. Younghusband then set-up fellow Filipino-British Matthew Hartmann for his first international goal.

The Man of the Match was clearly Phil Younghusband who dedicated the game to his late mother Susan who passed away a month ago.