24 July 2011

Philippine Azkals bow to Kuwait

By Cedelf Tupas

HAWALLI—Unable to build on a stellar yet unlucky first half performance, the Philippine Azkals fell in a 0-3 defeat to Middle East powerhouse Kuwait in the opening leg of their second round World Cup Qualifying duel here.

The Al-Azraq backed up their pedigree with a solid attacking display to thump the hard-fighting Filipinos, who had two shots that hit the crossbar in the first 30 minutes.

The second leg is slated Thursday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila with the Azkals needing to win by four goals or more to make the third round for the first time.

“Anything is still possible in the second leg,” said Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss.

“This time it’s not over. We still have 90 minutes in Manila,” said Kuwait coach Goran Tufegdzic.

There was no doubting the Kuwaitis’ dominance on this night, though.

Yousef Naser opened the scoring, before goals from Mesad Nasa and Fahed El-Ibrahim sealed the victory for the Kuwaitis, who are now well-positioned to reach the third round following the comprehensive win.

The Azkals, who missed skipper Aly Borromeo and Stephan Schrock due to suspension, put up a solid, resolute stand in the first half to stifle a Kuwaiti attack, but were unlucky to concede and also not get on the scoresheet, with Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado both getting golden chances to score in the opening 30 minutes.

Looking to finish off a quick counter-attacking move, Younghusband drew a diving save from Nawaf Al Khaldi on a one-on-one, setting up the corner that nearly gave Guirado the first goal.

But the Fil-Spanish striker headed Chieffy Caligdong’s corner to the crossbar and Jason Sabio’s header was cleared off the line by Hussain Fadhel.

The chances only woke up the Kuwaitis, who within seconds, finally grabbed the lead thanks to young striker Yousef Naser.

Fahad Al-Enezi, the right winger, who had proven to be a menace on attack, beat Manny Ott and Chieffy Caligdong to cross for Yousef, who banged the header into the bottom corner past the flailing arms of Neil Etheridge.

The Al-Azraq’s possession play was still negated by some resolute defending by the Azkals and on the counter, the visitors came close again in the 30th minute.

Anton del Rosario launched a long throw from the backline to Guirado, whose lofted ball found a rushing Younghusband on the run.

Finding space to shoot, Younghusband rifled a thunderous shot from just outside the area, forcing another reflex save from Al-Khaldi and the slightest of touches allowed the ball to ricochet off the crossbar again.

The tide began to change in the second half when the Al-Azraq put more pressure on the defensive line from the left flank, leading to several corner kicks and half-chances.

The pressure paid off in the 66th minute when defender Mesad Nada poked the ball home during a scramble in the box after his header off a corner was blocked.

The Al-Azraq’s pattern of dominance continued and with five minutes remaining with the Azkals growing weary, Fahed El-Ibrahim fired a shot from 20 yards to beat Etheridge.

The score would have been a little more lopsided if not for a couple of close range stops from Etheridge, who flew in from England on the eve of the match.




  2. Ikaw? Pogi ka ba?

    Go Azkals! You guys did your best!

  3. At list mga pogi kami. to the 1st anonymous anong ginagawa mo dito sa site? humahanap ng POGI. mukang na pogihan ka rin sa amin ah, BADING

  4. si Eric Dimzon yan :)

  5. sana naman bigyan ng chance ang mga pure blooded pinoys to play. i believe they have superior skills pa rin over some euro-based players. respeto naman.

  6. Hindi ko talaga maintindihan ang mga haters na yan. Parang hindi mga Pilipino. Wala naman ginawang masama sa kanila yung football team eh kung maka-criticize parang andami nilang nagawa para sa bansa at sa football.

  7. these bandwagons cannot put Philippine football down! hayaan natin sila to do their thing. it doesn't affect us after all. they only pride about winning. pag natalo, hater na sila. ignore them. real fans look after the team - the ups and downs. i can say real fans have the right to worthy criticisms, all for the good of the team. we, real fans, cannot go down to their level kasi its a given assumption na mababaw ang intindi nila sa laro. :)

  8. As Quoted by one of the Bloggers on this site "It is better to lose from a more superior team than win from the inferior ones"

    My respect to the Philippine team remains and I am not one of the haters like the Blogger on top.

    But there are many things that team has to learn from this game and other games to come...There was no game plan - nilaro lang ng Kuwaitis ang 1st half like a practice game. They attack on the 2nd half , good there were less goal to add on to the score, there are at least 2 or 3 unlucky goal - Game score could have been 6-0. We are still lucky at 3-0.

    Where are the reserve players , why was there no substitutions , players are so tired and some injured to play.Don't put players to the limit, they are not Rambo

    The climate affected them... but they have at least 2 weeks of game in Bahrain that could have adjusted them from the weather. Etheridge was not in Bahrain,yet he performed.

    The Field and weather in Philippines is better than Kuwait , and we might have a fighting chance on home game...Kuwait team is used to away game , of course with the more suitable climate and field , it will be haven for them.

    2 key players had yellow card and was not able to play...but there were 6-8 key players of Kuwait suspended , from the game with Lebanon or other. Kuwait is playing with reserve player, yet they delivered.

    take a look at our defense strategy...build it up for the upcoming game...
    we tried Long passes throughout the game but it did not work, why not try short passes.
    The formation 4-5-1 (meaning we have to control the middle),did not apply with the Kuwaitis, but a 1-9-1 formation is very uncanny , 9 player in box 1 up and 1 goal keeper what is this? , this is not suzuki cup

    We have to Build up the team in Sea Games then AFC ,then the FIFA Qualifiers. Take one step at a time. This will boost the players morale as part of their training and experience, don't pressure them , let them play and have fun win or lose. There are no shortcuts to Victory!!!

    AZKALS can do it !!! GO AZKALS

  9. as i watched the first half of the game,kaya mkisabay ang azkal,syimpre bilog ang bola at yan laro my talo may panalo,sa tingin ko kaya nila,kc maraming attempt ang team natin na di lng pumasok it means kaya natin mkisabay.malakas tlaga d2 ang football sa middle east,eto ang laro nila talaga.good luck sa nex game pinoy..umpisa plang to pgtumagal na bagsik na ang pinoy..john former Gensan Team.

  10. Kelangan na talagang mgkaroon ng professional league dito kung gusto niyong magkaroon tayo ng chance sa ibang bansa. Maigtingin na ang kampanya sa UFL para dumami pa sumoporta.

  11. sorely missed Aly as the sweeper. Jason Sabio is a poor replacement.

    i think you have to accept the reason why they played with a formation of lone striker and everyone back, they were playing a very good, experienced and superior team, without two key players.

    we'll learn from it for sure. growing pains, i agree.

    This will only make us stronger.

    go Philippines!

  12. "Any Game you play , win or lose will only make your team stronger ... you've gone a long way , just support each other on the field , don't look at the score board , accept what you are capable to achieve ... Play the Game as if your are playing it when you where young, no pressures , no inhibitions , just the Desire and Fire in your heart ... NO FEAR !!!

    Just want to share this video to every bloggers , Please take time to watch it .


    (remarkable song and video)

  13. "sorely missed Aly as the sweeper. Jason Sabio is a poor replacement."

    Ya no shit we missed Aly but if you actually watched the game, let alone watched it properly, you would know that Sabio was actually decent! He accounted himself the best he could especially taking into consideration that he's a backup defender in the national team and the lack of experience he has compared to someone like Aly. All this Sabio hating is actually BS. It's hating for the sake of hating and also shows a lack of footballing knowledge!!

    "i think you have to accept the reason why they played with a formation of lone striker and everyone back,"

    Have you only been following the national team now?? Because Weiss has changed the system ever since the Challenge Cup qualifiers in Myanmar to a 4-2-3-1.... there's a lone striker!!! It allows us to be attacking and defensive when needed. The lone striker was only highlighted in the first leg against Kuwait because we were on the back foot almost the entire game. However, it's a great switch in system by Weiss especially since it suits the players that we have!