By Cedelf P. Tupas
THE PHILIPPINE Azkals breezed past a team made up of top United Football League foreign players, 7-1, Saturday in their first and last tuneup match before their World Cup Qualifying clash against Bahrain this Thursday.
Javier Patiño scored twice, while new recruits Iain Ramsay and Kevin Ingreso and Stephan Schrock, Misagh Bahadoran and Mark Hartmann all found the back of the net at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
The match provided Azkals coach Thomas Dooley a glimpse of what to expect from his players in the qualifying tournament and the highly touted recruits who did not disappoint.
Patiño showed why he’s been tipped as the answer to the Azkals’ goalscoring woes with a couple of well-taken goals, while Ramsay provided the team with pace and creativity on the flanks.
His stint in the Australian League also ensures that the Azkals have one more experienced player who is no stranger to playing before big crowds.
With Patiño now playing at the head of the attack, Dooley deployed Phil Younghusband as attacking midfielder, alongside Manny Ott and Jerry Lucena.
Newcomer Luke Woodland played at the middle of the back three, together with Simone Rota and Daisuke Sato.
Schrock has put his controversial resignation from the team last season with a similarly quality display together with Ramsay and Patiño up front.
The Azkals are still expected to have Austrian League veteran Stephan Palla for the tournament. The leftback was expected to arrive yesterday, to complete the 23-man side.
“This squad has much more quality [than in previous national teams],” said Hans Smit, the UFL coach. “It’s probably the most complete team that we ever had.”
Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/183536/souped-up-azkals-flash-crack-form-in-tuneup#ixzz3cOyh6Zq0