The Philippine Azkals started their quest for a slot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup in a sour note via 5-2 defeat at the hands of Syria in the joint qualification match last September 5th at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
Javier Patino put the Azkals in the driver seat with a goal in the 7th minute, but that was the lone goal the Azkals scored in the first half as Omar Al Somah and Khaled Al Mobayed fired a goal each during the 15th and 31st minute respectively to give the Qasioun a 2-1 edge by halftime.
The Syrian continued to fire on all cylinders in the second half with Firas Al-Khatib’s penalty kick found the back of the net in the 49th minute, Al Somah scored another goal in the 56th minute for a brace while Mahmoud Al-Mawas put the icing on the cake at the 86th minute.
Mike Ott pullback for the Azkals during the 84th minute but it’s already too late for the home team to launch a comeback.
“The positive thing is how we started the game. We scored a goal in the first 15 to 20 minutes. We played with intensity, but after the goal, we relaxed a little,” said Patino via Rappler.
“I think that something good is coming,” he added.
“The positive thing is that our plan worked, but unfortunately for us, the striker of Syria (Al-Soma) had a golden boot,” Schrock said via Inquirer.net on his assessment of the game.
“I’ve barely seen finishing just like this. There’s kinda like a gap, but if you look at the stats, we were not far from the other team and we took the game to them.”
Azkals head coach Scott Cooper believed the team did their best against the 87th ranked Syria.
“Whatever happened tonight, the worst thing we can do is overreact,” Cooper quoted in the same article. “We lost against Syria and they are a good team.’’
“Do we change everything in a game where we rocked them for 20 minutes? I don’t think so,” Cooper pointed out. “We were brave, we went out and got on the front foot, we just didn’t have the know-how and the [intellect] to maintain that.”
The Azkals will next face Guam to continue their World Cup and Asian Cup qualification quest on September 10th at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo, Guam.
Ceres-Negros continues holding PFL leadership table; Kaya Iloilo inching closer
Defending champion Ceres-Negros FC continued to hold the leadership of the 2019 Philippines Football League (PFL) table but Kaya Iloilo is inching closer to the Bacolod-based team as the season continues.
The Busmen tallied another victory against Philippine Air Force, 3-0 with Super Herrera, Dylan de Brucycker and Robert Lopez Mendy unleashed a goal each for Ceres-Negros, recorded during the 15th, 34th and 59th minute respectively.
“It’s very hard to motivate the team for these kinds of games,” said Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic via Inquirer.net on motivating his squad on facing the also-ran Air Force. “The team played seriously until we scored the third [goal] and we stopped a little bit [after that].”
Vidakovic group followed the win with another victory in the hands of Mendiola FC 1991, 4-1 with Mike Ott scored in 17th and 60th minute and Mendy fired in 22nd and 41st minute, resulting for players to achieve a brace.
Ceres-Negros massacred Global Cebu FC with a 13-0 rout to accumulate 40 points, enough to maintain their leadership in the table and remained undefeated after a 2-2 draw in the hands of Stallion-Laguna during the opening day.
Following them are Kaya Iloilo with 37 points as they tallied a 2-0 against Global Cebu with Jordan Mintah scored in the 14th and 45th minute for a brace. They also add Stallion Laguna as their victims in virtue of 1-0 decision with Mintah nailed the lone goal in the 18th minute and the Iloilo-based team once again defeated Global Cebu, 5-1 to earn nine points in their previous three assignments.
Stallion Laguna occupied the third spot with 28 points as they tallied a 7-0 victory in the hands of Green Archers United and followed it with a 2-0 shutout against Philippine Air Force to solidifying their grip.
Green Archers United are not too behind Stallion Laguna after accumulating 25 points, enough to hold the fourth spot in the table as they tallied two wins and a draw in their last three matches.
Mendiola FC 1991 remained fifth with 11 points with Philippine Air Force still stuck in sixth place with eight points and Global Cebu got five points to remain at the bottom of the table.