Thursday, February 10, 2011

Azkals defeats Mongolia, 2-0

The Azkals' 1st game for the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifier was amazing to watch with thousands of fans cheering for them. 

Here’s my “report” on the game (Before anything else, the number of shots on goal and the time mentioned below might not be very accurate, but I think it’s pretty close as this is based on my personal counting and tracking.  I guess we’re not at the World Cup or Champions League level yet with all the stats like Ball Possession Percentage, number of shots on goal against shots on target, etc available J.  I also hope I didn’t get the players mixed up.  I don’t have the names of the Mongolian players, so I’ll call them by number).

The starting line up for the Philippine squad is composed of Aly Borromeo (team captain, 11), Neil Etheridge (1), Anton Del Rosario (4), Rob Gier (2), Ray Jonnson (27), Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdon (co-captain, 13), James Younghusband (7), Jason de Jong (17), Phil Younghusband (10), Ian Araneta (23) and  Roel Gener (6).

Just as Coach Hans Michael Weiss planned, the Azkals came out attacking at the start of the game with skipper Aly Borromeo producing a shot on goal merely 4 minutes into the match.  From then on, the Azkals held on to this offensive strategy pushing back the Blue Wolves more and more into their side of the pitch.  Throughout the 1st half, Azkals’ Del Rosario, P. Younghusband, Gener and Araneta had a total of seven shots on goal with a few on target.  But the Blue Wolves’ tight defense denied the Azkals’ goal attempts.  The Blue Wolves also had chances in scoring, although not as much as the Azkals, having only one shot on target that was blocked by Etheridge.  They twice broke through Azkals’ defense line but it was cleared by De Jong and the by Del Rosario, respectively.

The 1st yellow card was awarded in the 14th minute of the game with Mongolia’s Altantulga, for his challenge on P. Younghusband.  Altantulga would then receive another yellow card 6 minutes later for a free kick violation.  With two yellow cards, he was sent off the pitch.

In the last minutes of the 1st half, Azkals’ Caligdong finally found the back of the net, scoring the first goal of the game during the 42nd minute.  Right before the whistle was blown, Caligdon had one more shot on target but missed, hitting the post instead.

amazing ball control skils! chest trap, one touch on his left foot, setting it  up for a shot right between the goalie's legs

By 2nd half, the Azkals intensified their offense generating 13 shots on goal (most of them on target) with Araneta contributing 6 of those shots.  But the Blue Wolves’ persisted in their defense and refusing to concede a goal.

The Blue Wolves lost two players to injury, number 5 in the 75th minute and number 8 in the 79th minute, leaving them down to 9 men.

The 2nd half was also not without incident for the Azkals as P. Younghusband was booked for a handball violation earning him a yellow card.  But P. Younghusband redeemed himself by converting the set up by Sabio into the 2nd and final goal of the game. 

great set up by Sabio

Here are my thoughts on the match (whatever it’s worth as I’m no expert, hehe):

The Azkals fought hard and strong and the final score could have been more with their countless scoring chances but the Blue Wolves really guarded their goal.

If I were to hazard a guess, ball possession was probably 65% Azkals and 35% Blue Wolves.

I don’t know anything about goalkeeping, but there were moments where Etheridge was just too high up the pitch for my comfort (I guess he probably got lonely in his post as his teammates were in their opponent’s side of the pitch most of the time)

Araneta was on fire during the 2nd half with so many shots on target, too bad none of it hit the net… maybe in the next game..

I think the sports commentantors are so used to covering basketball games that one of them called it "free throw" instead of "throw in" without realizing it :)

I envy P. Younghusband's "banana kicks", I've always wanted to learn how to make the ball swerve when you kick it.

It would have been cool goal if that bicycle kick went in (was it Sabio who attempted that shot?)

Loved the combination of white shorts and a little light rain ;-) Would have even loved it more if some of the players swapped jerseys after the game, hehehe..

I wish I could’ve watched the match at the Panaad Stadium, it would have been great to be amongst fans and celebrate after the victory

The next qualifier game for the AFC Challenge Cup will be on March 15, still against Mongolia.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I enjoy watching the game. The name of Mongolian players are:

    goalie Ganbayar Tseveensuren
    number 9: Pagamsuren Altantulga
    number 5: Garidmagnai Bayasgalan
    number 8: Ochbayar Olzvoi