MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals leaned on Ian Araneta’s goal late in the match to get past UFL champion Global FC, 3-2, today in the I Can Serve Football Invitationals at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Azkals, who mixed the Under-23 national team in this match, attacked aggressively from the kick-off resulting in Phil Phil Younghusband’s goal off Mark Hartmann’s perfect assist inside the box barely four minutes into the match.
Global Smartmatic had several chances to score but Eduard Sacapano, Neil Etheridge’s back-up, did a great job defending the pitch for the Azkals in the early minutes of the match.
Saving his own shot, Younghusband again connected in the 29th minute mark to double the Azkals’ lead, 2-nil.
A crack on the Azkals’ defense led to Global’s Misagh Bahadoran, who is also a member of the national training pool, to cut the lead, 2-1, just before the break.
Global equalized with seven minutes into the second half as Sudanese and UFL’s leading scorer Izzeldin El-Habbib scored on a long lob to tie the match at 2-all. The goal was El-Habbib’s second in the charity tournament that serves as a kick-off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month this coming October.
With the momentum shift, Global FC kept on pressuring the Azkals’ defense, which missed skipper Aly Borromeo and Anton Del Rosario with both defenders nursing injuries. But Sacapano proved to be tough enough as the back-up goal keeper saved consecutive attempts by Global’s Bahadoran and El-Habbib.
Fresh legs saved the Azkals from a draw with late substitute Araneta making an immediate impact with a header from fellow reserve Jeff Christiaens in the 85th minute.
The win was the second in a row for the Azkals against Global FC, which is also being managed by national team manager Dan Palami.
The Azkals scored a 3-1 victory against Global FC last Sept. 11 during their Bacolod training camp. With the Younghusband brothers still grieving their mother’s untimely death due to massive heart failure, Hartmann took the scoring cudgels with a hat-trick.
The Azkals will meet Kaya Cignal, which absorbed a 1-nil loss at the hands of Global last Monday, in the final game of the charity tournament backed by LBC and Sun Life.
The match, which is expected to draw a good weekend crowd, will be held on Saturday at 3pm in the same venue. The match will be telecast at 5pm on AKTV on IBC Channel 13, TV5's sports channel.