MIGUEL JAIME G. ONGPIN
MANILA, Philippines -- The Azkals roundly defeated Sri-Lanka 4-0 in a rain-drenched game that saw Rizal Memorial Stadium filled to just under 13,000 fans; an attendance not seen since the early 1980’s, during the reign of track phenomenon Lydia De Vega.
The Philippine Air Force’s Chieffy Caligdong struck early in the first half as he fired in the crowd that was the Sri Lankan defense. The shot bounced off the goalpost and into the Sri Lankan net.
The Philippine team dominated the entire game with crisp passing, a solid defense; and sound goalkeeping that negated almost all offensive attempts from Sri Lanka.
Standing out in the midfield was Stephan Shrock who had a superb game in delivering the ball to the offense.
Some time midway into the First Half Phil Younghusband found himself in front of the net and had the patience and presence of mind to beat his defender and flick the ball away from himself and the oncoming Sri Lankan goalkeeper, later to reconnect with the ball and slide a ground ball into the Sri Lankan goal making it 2-0.
The First Half ended with that score in a performance showing that the Azkals had finally found their rhythm and finally capitalized on their offense and passing which had badly misfired in the First Leg in Colombo.
The Second Half saw the continuation of the rugged game with Aly Borromeo and Stephan Shrock being issued Yellow Cards, both players will miss the First Leg game with Kuwait.
In the latter part of the Second Half Angel Aldeguer Guirado; much like Phil Younghusband in the first half, flicked the ball away himself and the rushing Sri Lankan keeper and followed through on a slightly bouncing ground ball to make it 3-0.
Stephan Shrock was streaking towards the Sri Lankan goal from the corner post area when he was brought down in the Penalty Area by a defender.
The referee awarded a Penalty Shot which was taken by Phil Younghusband.He calmly converted the penalty shot which flew high into the center of the net and making it 4-0.
The score may have been higher had the Azkals been able to convert on several offensive opportunities. The team was comfortable playing on home soil and a much better pitch than in Colombo. They were also cheered on by their nearly 13,000 home fans.
The Azkals will now advance to the next round of World Cup Qualifiers when they face Kuwait in 2 legs later this month.
Sunday, 3 July 2011
MIGUEL JAIME G. ONGPIN