Azkals settle for draw with Qatar club Al-Ahli in friendly
By Karlo Sacamos
A Philippine men’s football team missing its leading scorer settled for a 1-1 draw against Al-Ahli in their friendly on Monday night at the Al-Ahlit Sports Club Stadium in Doha.
The Azkals, without injured striker Phil Younghusband, took the lead in the second half but failed to protect it on the way to the stalemate in the Qatari club’s turf.
Juani Guirado provided the spark off the bench as the Filipino-Spanish center-back, who replaced skipper Rob Gier in the second half, unlocked the Al-Ahli defense in the 67th minute with a header off a corner.
But the Philippine celebration was short-lived as the hosts equalized 13 minutes later.
Attacking midfielder Jason de Jong and substitute defender Simone Rota also created chances that were just off target for the Azkals, who were coming off a 3-0 drubbing of Nepal last Saturday.
Azkals coach Thomas Dooley fielded a rejigged starting XI compared to the Nepal game with only four retained and goalkeeper Ed Sacapaño, defenders Anton del Rosario, Amani Aguinaldo, Andrew Liauw, midfielder Simon Greatwich, Ruben Doctora, and forward Nate Burkey getting the starts.
The Filipino booters return home and face Malaysia in Cebu City on April 27.