The Philippine Azkals started their 2018 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup campaign in a positive note in registering two wins in their Group B assignments.
Guided by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Azkals defeated Singapore, 1-0 at the Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City last November 13th courtesy of a goal from Patrick Reichelt.
Reichelt, currently playing for Ceres-Negros FC in the Philippines Football League (PFL) was able to score in the 78th minute, thanks to an assist from team captain Phil Younghusband. The former was able to escape the defense of Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny to punch the lone goal of the match.
“I think we were very timid in the first half,” Azkals head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who gets his first win as Azkals mentor said via ESPN 5 as he pointed the lackluster offense of the team in the first half.”In the second we opened it up more.”
The home team was able to turn things around in the second half after screwing things in their offensive scheme, evidence of that was Manny Ott and James Younghusband attempts to score during the 49th and 64th minute respectively but their attacks were foiled by Sunny.
Singapore struggled on their offense all game long but the visitors almost scored before the half ends, courtesy of a free kick from Gabriel Yi, luckily the shot was foiled by Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
“They were hard to break down,” said James Younghusband in the same ESPN 5 article as the visitors are planning to hang on in the second half to end the match into a goalless draw until Reichelt scored the lone goal that gives the Azkals its first three points in the Group Stage.
“It’s always tough,” Etheridge reflected on their game against Singapore, quoted also in the same article. “We analyzed their performances previously but you never know how they’re going to play. They sat defensively, they looked to counter-attack. I thought we nullified what they had in the first half. In the second half, we knew we had to move the ball quicker to break them down. I believe we did that. We’ve got a lot to work on but we’re happy to put three points on the board.”
Reichelt meantime is happy on their impressive start as quoted in an article of Inquirer.net.“It’s amazing, scoring at Panaad and getting the three points to start the tournament.’’
Team captain Phil Younghusband hit a milestone in the Azkals- Singapore match for playing his 100th game for the national team.
On their second game in Group B, the Azkals escaped the late rally of Timor Lester, 3-2 to pick-up their second victory last November 17th at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Phil Younghusband opened the floodgates for the Azkals with a goal in the 27th minute. Martin Steuble and Carlie De Murga made their presence felt for the national team in striking their own during the 32nd and 68th minute respectively.
Timor Leste refused to roll with Nataniel Ries and Joao Pedro scored consecutive goals for Timor Leste during the 73rd and 75th minute respectively.
Several players did not suit up for the Azkals against Timor Leste as coach Eriksson decided to use Michael Falkesgaard instead of Etheridge in the goalkeeper spot while Manny Ott and Luke Woodland suffered injuries, which put them questionable in the Azkals-Timor Leste tiff.
The Azkals are currently second in their group with six points, just behind group leader Thailand, also with six points but had better goal difference against the second-placers.
Tough assignments are on the table for the Azkals as they will face Thailand on November 21st at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City and Indonesia on November 25th at the Gelora Bungkarno Stadium in Jakarta Indonesia as the team is looking to get back in the semifinals for the first time since 2014.
Malditas marches to the second round of AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifier
The Philippine Malditas dream to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Women’s Football Tournament is alive and kicking after the Pinays advance to the second round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Despite a 5-0 loss against Chinese Taipei last November 12th, the Malditas are still qualified in the second round after finishing second in Group A with nine points, just behind the Chinese Taipei, which finished first at Group A with 12 points.
Aside from the Malditas, also advancing to the second round of the Women’s Olympic Qualifiers are Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Iran, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Jordan, and Palestine.
The successful teams of the first round will also be joined by seeded teams Vietnam and Uzbekistan.
The second round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament is scheduled to take place in April 2019.
De La Salle University crown as PFF Women’s League queens for the second time
Despite missing a key player due to AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers defended their Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Women’s League title in defeating University of Santo Tomas(UST) Lady Booters, 2-1 in the last day of the eliminations at the PFF National Training Center, Carmona Cavite last November 11th.
Playing without Sara Castaneda, the Lady Archers relied on Carmen Castellanos and Janna Barcemo to defend the crown with the former struck in the 15th minute while the latter in the 67th minute.
UST was able to pull back in the 90th minute with a goal from Cecile Deita as they missed veterans Shelah Cadag and Hazel Lustan due also to AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament commitment.
The Lady Archers finished on the top of the standings with 25 points; they are followed by UST with 21 points.
Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws, locked the third place after defeating Tuloy FC 3-2 in the curtain-raiser to finish the season with 19 points on the table.
Tuloy FC ended fourth 16 points; they followed by Hiraya FC with 14 points for fifth place and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles in sixth place with 13 points.
OutKast FC(10 points), University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons (five points) claimed seventh and eighth place respectively while Green Archers United ( four points) and De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers ( three points) are the bottom teams of the tournament.
Chelo Hodges of DLSU named as Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament while her teammates Mariell Tejada and Natasha Lacson hailed as Best Defender and Best Goalkeeper respectively.
UST’s Lustan named as Best Midfielder while Tuloy FC,s Isabella Bandoja was the Golden Boot awardee in scoring 24 goals throughout the tournament. Tuloy FC bagged the Fair Play award.