1 – 2
Philippines vs. Mongolia
It was a loss for the Azkals but they will still be advancing to the Qualifying Group Stage as they lead in the final aggregate score. It was a different Blue Wolves that played in today’s match as they had more chances and more ball possession compared to how they performed in the 1st Leg.
There were factors that could have influenced the outcome. The obvious one is the freezing temperature. Azkals are clearly not used to playing in really cold weather and it had a definite impact on their speed and agility. Another possible factor could be the missing key players. The Azkals’ defense was not as compact as I would have wanted it to be. Could it be because Gier and De Jong were out? Did Sabio need more practice time with the team so he’d have more seamless play with Borromeo? Of course, Etheridge was also missing. Sacapaño did okay but there were moments when he could just not lock down that save, like what happened in the 2nd goal of Mongolia.
Did they re-arrange the positions a bit? I think Borromeo played more in defense in this match compared to the 1st leg where he was in attacking midfield (I’m not really sure what the other changes are).
P. Younghusband was not in his top form, there were instances when he’d go to the sides and get some medical attention. He got substituted in the 2nd half and seemed to have injured his hamstring. Wasn’t he injured in their Baguio practice game?
Over-all, it was great match with both sides having their chances in scoring, unlike the 1st leg which was pretty much one-sided. I like the pairing of commentators, one was an excitable announcer and the other one was this calm British guy. At least this time, they didn’t call it a free throw J
Final Aggregate Score:
Here are numbers:
Shots on Goal
3rd minute – James Younghusband (Philippines)
21st minute – Lumbengarav Donorov (Mongolia)
33rd minute – Garidmagnai Bayasgalan (Mongolia)
So now, the Azkals will join Bangladesh, Myanmar and Palestine in Group A for the Qualifiers Group Stage. Their next game will against Myanmar on March 21, 5PM in Philippine Time.