27 November 2014

Semifinal-bound Azkals keen to draw confidence from match against host Vietnam

From: Karlo Sacamos

HANOI - A Philippine men’s football team that faces little pressure aims to keep building confidence heading into the knockout stage of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup opposite familiar foe Vietnam in the final day of the group stage on Friday. Already through to the semifinals after two straight wins that saw them deliver an amazing performance, the Azkals remain eager to perform well against a side they have mastered in their last two meetings. The Filipino booters shocked the Vietnamese, 2-0, in the 2010 edition of the meet in a match that sparked the renaissance of the sport in the country. They replicated the feat two years ago when they nipped the Southeast Asian powerhouse, 1-0, thanks to a late winner by homegrown hero Chieffy Caligdong. Now, the two teams face off anew at 8 p.m. (PH time) with the hosts still considered the favorites as they play in front of home fans at the 40,000-seat My Dinh National Stadium. “They’re one of the favorites in the competition,” said skipper Rob Gier, one of the four remnants, along with Chris Greatwich and James and Phil Younghusband, of the 2010 team that made history and put the Philippines back on the Asean football map. “With a crowd cheering for them, it’s going to be a difficult game.” “But we’re underdogs who don’t have to win,” he added. “It’s just nice knowing that we can go into the game a little bit free knowing that we’ve qualified.” “But make no mistake about it; we want to top the group,” the Filipino-British defender continued. “We won’t be taking our foot off the pedal. We’re going for that win again for sure.” The Azkals only need a draw to achieve their objective, while a draw for second-ranked Vietnam will also be enough for the host team to advance. Vietnam coach Toshiya Miura remained wary of the Filipinos, but are hoping to snap the skid. “The Philippines is very strong and recently has been stronger than Vietnam,” the Japanese mentor said. Azkals coach Thomas Dooley stressed the team’s last two wins against the Vietnamese hardly matter as he wants to continue to see improved play from his boys. “The past games don’t mean anything,” the German-American mentor said. “Collective team effort, the strategy on how we want to play - these are the main focus. Everything else doesn’t matter.”

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/semifinals-bound-azkals-remain-eager-to-perform-against-host-vietnam

Patrick Reichelt out for Azkals match against Vietnam with knee injury

From: Karlo Sacamos

HANOI — The Philippine national football team’s Asean Football Federation Cup bid suffered another blow with Patrick Reichelt out due to a knee injury. Reichelt is set to miss the Azkals’ match against host Vietnam on Friday but Azkals coach Thomas Dooley is hopeful the Filipino-German striker would be fit to play for the Suzuki Cup knockout stage. The Philippine Azkals have secured a spot in the semifinals with the full six points from two matches, but the Vietnam game will affect the ranking.

Reichelt started against Indonesia after an impressive showing off the bench against Laos, but twisted his knee in the match against Indonesia. Starting center-back Juani Guirado suffered a hamstring injury early in the match against Indonesia and could be out for the remainder of the tournament.

“Patrick is out,” the German-American mentor confirmed. The semifinals will be played on the first week of December with first leg of the finals set on Dec. 17. Dooley said he will activate Paul Mulders from the reserve list, but remains undecided on who to insert in the starting lineup, with Mark Hartmann one of the possible choices. “We are thinking of a couple of possibilities,” Dooley said. “Do we go with speed or technique? It depends on the situation.”

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/patrick-reichelt-knee-injury-philippine-azkals-aff-suzuki-cup-football

26 November 2014

FOOTBALL AZKALS Injured Juani Guirado confident Azkals backline will hold strong as they go deep in AFF Suzuki Cup

From: Karlo Sacamos

HANOI — Juani Guirado is confident the backline of the Philippine men’s football team will remain as sturdy as ever even in his absence potentially for the rest of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup. The Filipino-Spanish center-back, who is expected to be out for at least two weeks after hurting his right hamstring in the Azkals’ 4-0 win over Indonesia, noted that the team's defense has conceded only one goal in two matches.

“We have the best defenders,” he said, referring to Amani Aguinaldo and Rob Gier, who came in for Guirado 14 minutes into the match. “We have Amani, we have Rob, so we have a lot of good players. But I’ll try to come back and fight for the team.” Guirado was left frustrated after coming off the match despite not nursing any injury for a while. “I don’t know what happened. I felt good and took care of myself. But I tried to sprint and I just felt pain in my hamstring and I couldn’t run.”

Alvaro Silva, another Filipino-Spaniard who were registered for the tournament, could also be a replacement once he gets his Philippine passport. “I don’t if Alvaro is ready, but Rob is ready always, works hard, and he showed he can also score, so I’m happy for him,” Guirado said. Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said starting right-back Simone Rota can also move to central defense then decide who to fill his place. Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/juani-guirado-injured-philippine-azkals-aff-suzuki-cup-footbal

Azkals boss eyes 25,000-seat Philippine Stadium as venue for Suzuki Cup semis home match

From: Karlo Sacamos
HANOI – A big venue after a big achievement. Philippine men’s football team manager Dan Palami has raised the possibility of holding the home leg of the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki at the newly built Philippine Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. Following the Azkals’ 4-0 shutout of Indonesia on Tuesday that secured their place in the knockout stage, Palami mentioned the 25,000-seat stadium beside the Philippine Arena as a possible venue for the next round aside from the Rizal Memorial Stadium. “It all depends, but of course, I think playing in the new Philippine Stadium would be a great experience especially if the fans will go there,” the Azkals boss said. “It’s been a while since we’ve seen (that many) Filipino fans together, cheering for us.”

Palami recalled the biggest crowd the Azkals have ever played before was in the Gulf region where 16,000 Pinoys watched them in a friendly. “If we could fill up the Philippine Stadium, that would be a nice atmosphere,” said Palami, who started an online poll, asking fans where between the Philippine Stadium and the Rizal Memorial would they want to watch the semifinal home match. “In so far as allowing more fans to watch the game is concerned, then we’ll go for the Philippine Stadium,” he said as Rizal has a seating capacity of less than 13,000. Palami said World Sports Group, the Suzuki Cup organizer, has already made an inspection on the new stadium. “Although it’s not as accessible as Rizal, but if a bus is provided from Balintawak — it’s just a fifteen- to twenty-minute ride — a lot of fans can go without the hassle.” The stadium sits next to the Philippine Arena - believed to be the biggest domed stadium in the world - inside the vast complex owned by the regilious group Iglesia ni Cristo in Bulacan. The PBA recently held its opening day at the 57,000-capacity arena, attracting more than 52,000 fans by providing shuttle bus services for fans, courtesy of expansion team KIA Motors.

Palami also cited the grass pitch of the Philippine Stadium as a factor as the Azkals have acclimated themselves playing on grass at the My Dinh National Stadium. Rizal’s field has recently been turned into an artificial turf. “We’ve been able to adjust quite well to the grass pitch,” he said. “If you look at the two games we’ve had so far, I think we had very good games on grass, so I feel it (PH stadium) may be the best pitch for us.”

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/azkals-boss-names-25000-seat-philippine-stadium-as-possible-venue-of-azkals-suzuki-cup-semis-home

25 November 2014

Big blow to Azkals as Juani Guirado injury could sideline him for remainder of AFF Suzuki Cup

From: Karlo Sacamos

HANOI — The Philippine men’s football team may have won against Indonesia to clinch a semifinal berth in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, but the Azkals is expected to miss a defensive stalwart the rest of the tournament due to an injury. Starting center-back Juani Guirado suffered a pulled a hamstring on his right knee early in the 4-0 shutout that could sideline him for rest of the competition.

Azkals coach Thomas Dooley expects the Filipino-Spanish defender to be absent for “two to three weeks” but fears worse. “It could even be four weeks,” the German-American mentor said of Guirado, who skipper Rob Gier replaced just 14 minutes into the match. The first leg of the semifinals kicks off in the first week of December and the first match of the finals set on December 17. Dooley said super-sub turned starter Patrick Reichelt also twisted his knee, “so we have to find out how bad that is.” “Definitely we will change some players,” Dooley added. “Players are going to get a chance to play. But I have faith in everyone we have here. Everyone will get a chance to play, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want to win.”

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/azkals-zuzuki-cup-juani-guirado-hamstring-injury-philippines-aff-football

Azkals book ticket to Suzuki Cup semis with stunning shutout of Indonesia

From: Karlo Sacamos

HANOI – The Philippine men’s football team put on a dominant display, outclassing Indonesia, 4-0, on Tuesday at the My Dinh National Stadium to book an early ticket to the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinals. Eager to advance outright to the knockout stage of Southeast Asia’s showpiece event, the Azkals ripped the lethargic Indonesians apart with their clinical passing and staunch defending to score stunning shutout. That enabled Philippines to increase its point total to six points to keep a firm grip of the lead in Group A, while leaving Indonesia with only a point. “It was an excellent performance,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said. “You can’t play better…but I never thought we would win four-nothing.” Phil Younghusband scored for the second straight game, while Manny Ott, Martin Steuble, and Rob Gier found the back of the net as well for the Filipino booters, who finally slayed the ghost that had long haunted them for eight decades, defeating the Indonesians for the first time since 1934. “There’s always a first time for everything,” Dooley said. “But if we broke some records or we beat some team for the first time, it doesn’t matter. What’s most important is we play good.” In an ominous sign of things to come, Misagh Bahadoran drew a foul inside the box 15 minutes into the match to get rewarded with a penalty, which Younghusband converted to open the floodgates. Ott, the Filipino-German midfielder who along with Jerry Lucena has been a fantastic facilitator, emerged on the firing end this time, firing a missile six minutes into the second half to double the lead. The Azkals kept pounding as Steuble pounced on a napping Indonesian defense in the 67th minute to score from a close-range free kick. Gier put the exclamation point by scoring off his own miss 11 minutes before stoppage time.

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/azkals-reach-suzuki-cup-semis-philippines-shuts-out-indonesia-aff-football

Philippines vs Indonesia: AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 Highlights

AFF Suzuki Cup : Philippines 4-0 Indonesia

AFF Suzuki Cup in Vietnam

Tuesday : Philippines vs Indonesia , 5 pm (Philippines)

TV : ABS CBN Sports and Action , Fox Sports

Livescore : www.futbol24.com

Livestream links : http://eversport.tv/football/aff-suzuki-cup-2014/2014/11/25/philippines-vs-indonesia

1-0 Phil Younghusband
1-0 HT
2-0 Ott
3-0 Steuble
4-0 Gier

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