MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national football team continued to dominate the Nepalese national booters after posting a 3-0 win in Doha, Qatar on Friday, October 31 (Saturday in PH).
The undermanned Azkals immediately went into attack mode with Mark Hartmann making his presence felt on the pitch with a left-footed attack in the 4th minute of the match.
On the other side, the Nepal mounted attacks of their own but their outbursts on several occasions were too weak for the formidable defense of the Philippines anchored by Simone Rota and Amani Aguinaldo.
The Philippine national booters dominated possession in the first half with 4 attempts on goal by Hartmann but none came through as the match went into the halftime break in a goal-less draw.
Fresh legs came into the match in the second half as Simon Greatwich replaced Martin Steuble and Filipino-Spanish players Alvaro Silva made his debut for the national football team after subbing in for Anton Del Rosario.
The mid-game substitution proved to be instrumental for the Azkals as Greatwich found a gap deep inside the box to tap the ball in and tally his debut international goal for the Azkals.
Emotions erupted in the 64th minute after a tackle by Daisuke Sato on one of the Nepalese attackers warranted a yellow card for the Filipino-Japanese wingback.
The match went on with Nepal down to ten men due to a red card given to Jagjit Shrestha.
The Nepalese attackers exhausted all their means to get through the tough defense of the Azkals but none found the back of the net as Patrick Deyto stood his ground in manning the goal.
Consequently, a tackle on Hartmann inside the box caused a penalty, which Phil Younghusband took and scored, extending the lead of the Philippines to 2-0 late in the match.
After knocking on Nepal’s door for several occasions, Hartmann finally broke his dry spell and notched the final goal for the Azkals in the dying minutes of the match.
The friendly is part of a two-game training camp in preparation for the upcoming Suzuki Cup. –