17 June 2015

Azkals trip Yemenis in World Cup elims

By Olmin Leyba

DOHA – The Philippine Azkals fired warning shots to the rest of the field in Group H of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers as they roared to a 2-0 victory over Yemen Tuesday night before a predominantly Pinoy crowd at Qatar Sports Club Stadium.
Misagh Bahadoran and Iain Ramsay launched the missiles in the second half that leveled the Yemeni defense and cleared the way to their second straight win and a tie with North Korea atop the table with six points. The North Koreans beat Uzbekistan, 4-2, over in Pyongyang.
It was a fiery follow-up to the Azkals’ 2-1 upset of Bahrain last week back home in Bocaue, Bulacan, showing everyone that despite being regarded as the underdog by bettors, they are for real.
“When you win against Bahrain, you feel that the team is really playing well. But this is a confirmation of how far we can still go and how well we’re really playing,” said a happy team manager Dan Palami, whose team will next play Uzbekistan at home Sept. 8 and North Korea on the road a month later.
“We were quite worried because even in betting stations we were the underdogs (against Yemen) but then again, we’re used to that. Even against Bahrain, we were the underdogs. But what’s important is we play our game and we could see that when we do play our game that, we get good results,” he added.
Unleashing an excellent attacking football and a great work rate, the Azkals found the target via the cat-quick Bahadoran (52’) and fancied recruit Ramsay (74’) who each consummated on a fine delivery by Javier Patino to make the day of over 4,000 Filipinos among the 5,200 who braved the 36-degree heat to cheer them on.
“We talked about playing football – moving the ball around and having a nice combination, switching the balls, creating some chances up front. We had some patterns that we tried to work out in training and almost everything worked,” said coach Thomas Dooley.
Luke Woodland, the 19-year-old wunderkind who only got cleared to see action on the eve of the game, made a solid 90-minute debut, teaming up with Daisuke Sato and Jerry Lucena in the three-man backline that helped Neil Etheridge keep a clean sheet.
“Everybody’s outstanding and they worked so hard,” said Dooley who also deployed new face Kevin Ingreso, and Dennis Villanueva for the first time.
Yemen suffered its second consecutive loss at their “home.” The Yemenis dropped a 0-1 setback to North Korea last week here.
“We’re not on the level of Philippines in this game,” said Yemen coach Amin Al-Sunani, whose wards traveled 13 hours by boat and another five by plane out of their conflict-torn country. “Because of the bad situation in our country, we haven’t prepared well, we didn’t even have any friendly matches before our two matches. But I’m glad they did their best.” 


  1. Azkals and underdogs belong to the same breed :-)

  2. Phils can have a friendly here on Sep 3 with (1) Iraq before the latter plays Thailand (home) on Sep 8; or (2) Vietnam before they fly to Taiwan to play on Sep 8.

    1. Iraq plays Chinese Taipei on Sep 3.

    2. based on logistical convenience and true availability of both sides only Thailand and Vietnam will be the probable opponents of azkals in a home or away friendly game before September 8 game vs Uzbekistan, or nay OFC team or any AFC team already eliminated from World Cup (Nepal, Brunei, Mongolia, Macau, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)

    3. Macau na lang.... malapit na, lutong Macau :-) baka puede rin HK or China :-)

    4. May laro ang HK at China sa September 3 di puede unless July o August ang friendly
      Usually ang isang team may warm-up game/s prior to a tournament match

  3. Teams that dont play on September 3 :
    Palestine, Tajikistan, Maldives, India, Afghanistan , Thailand , Vietnam and Lebanon.
    All of them could play a friendly on September 3 against Azkals , but some of them would prefer to play at home and not in Philippines.

    1. That's why Macau will be a better choice - near, easy logistics, etc.

      PFF, are you listening?

    2. Jonny, some teams you mentioned especially the ones from western Asia would obviously not come to Manila just for a friendly game, even if they want to
      (PHI has gained more respect than ever after defeating Bahrain and now everyone wants to defeat PHI)
      Then they have to fly back to play against their opponent, logistically speaking it wouldn't be convenient for them
      I know PFF would want a friendly game at home
      I nominate New Zealand or Vietnam to play against Philippines

  4. I think its Japan, they will play Singapore and they need to be acclimatise and philippines is the best option for a friendly.

    1. Japan vs Philippines? Not possible this September
      Japan has games in Sep 3 & 8
      Only Vietnam and Thailand are available for friendly in the upcoming match days, maybe OFC teams if they are as well

    2. Bakit nawala ang mga haters?

  5. its a desame situation with palestine that won against azkals last cup,palestine is also a war ravaged country,played desame as yemeni did,they fought,bleed, and they took the the bacon and brought back home, a loss is a loss,(with due respect to yemen football) i have my deep sympathy with their country, its the dynamic of the game,plus,philippines is also hungry in football today, its the influx of fil-foriegn and system that really matters to this moment,azkals made history,reinvent,adapt,reject, they are the catalyst of modern football, i dont know,till now, how long this magic will continue to lead them into victory?, or maybe its a product of aggressive approach to spark again the dormant life of football here in the philippines,since theres no big comapanies that really want football here in p.i, the ebb and tide and rapid changes in our sport of football,it really shows we are still in the transition.

    1. hangga't may aff cup, afc WC qualifier/afc asian cup qualifier and U23 sea games and AFC qualifiers the magic will stay.

      football here in the Philippines is not dormant.. nagkataon lang may ibang larangan or entertainment na pansamantalang naging trend sa Pilipinas.

      football is not seasonal unlike other sports here na kailangan magdagdag ng conference or season para maka survive dahil yung disciplines kakaunti ang competitions abroad.

      samantalang sa football bukod sa mga domestic leagues worldwide may mga league, cup and qualifiers bawat continent.

      kahit wala ang bandwagon supports from LGU, national government or kahit hindi aggressive ang mga private companies sa pag bankroll ng national team ay makaka survive pa rin ang Philippine football.

      next decade football will overtake basketball and football bilang number one or top team sport here in Imperial Manila..

      dahil sa globalization ng football yung future and next generation of youth malalampasan nila ang population ng hoops fans.

  6. Off topic lang po. Any updates on Sandro Reyes? It has been three years since his first FCB Escola season, and now it has ended(articles said three years, his third and final season ended last June 13), what's next for him?