Younghusbands lift Azkals to 4-0 triumph
Posted Yahoo Philippines
by Sid Ventura
Phil Younghusband scored two goals and helped set up a third, while brother James added another one as the Philippine Azkals whitewashed Nepal, 4-0, in their FIFA-sanctioned international friendly Tuesday night at the Rizal Football Stadium. A month and a day after their mother's untimely passing, the Younghusband brothers were in their element as they helped the Azkals dominate the Nepalese, ranked 31 places higher in the FIFA rankings, on both ends of the field.
"From now on all my games are dedicated to my mum and dad," Phil said. "They're looking down on us now. The fact that me and my brother scored makes it special for my mum."
Susan Younghusband died suddenly of a heart attack on September 10, while the Azkals were training in Bacolod. She would have been proud of her sons last night.
Phil first struck in the 17th minute with a shot from the right flank off a brilliant pass from Paul Mulders to give the Azkals an early 1-nil lead. Thirteen minutes later, James doubled the lead with a vicious strike from just outside the penalty box that found the back of the net in the far right corner of Nepal's goal.
Even before the Younghusbands' twin goals, the Azkals already had three excellent chances to score. In the fourth minute, Nepal keeper Ritesh Thapa failed to clear a cross from the right, leaving Ian Araneta with a good shot on goal. But the Nepal defense blocked the shot at the last minute. In the ninth, a good cross from James Younghusband found Chieffy Caligdong wide open on the left flank just yards from the goal, but the Air Force striker put too much behind his shot and the ball sailed wide over the crossbar. In the 15th, Araneta was again the recipient of a good cross from James Younghusband and only had Thapa to beat, but the Nepalese keeper was up to the task and foiled Araneta's attempt.
In the 12th minute, Sujai Shrestha had the best chance to get on the board for Nepal, his strike from the left just missing the post by inches. Other than that, the Azkals totally dominated the first half.
The second half saw the Nepalese, down 0-2, sending more men forward, but it was the Philippines that scored again when Phil recovered a deflected shot by Dennis Cagara inside the penalty box for a strike in the 54th minute that made it 3-nil.
Late substitute Matthew Hartmann made it 4-nil in the 89th minute after receiving a short pass from Phil near the top of the box and blasting home a shot to the left portion of the goal that Thapa just couldn't reach.
It was a good turnaround from the 0-2 defeat the Azkals suffered at the hands of Singapore last Friday, and for Coach Hans Michael Weiss, it was the result he had hoped for.
"In the meeting we had earlier on," Weiss said, "we sat together and discussed that we wanted to end this year with a bang, and have a clear answer to the people who weren't happy with our results. Offensive football in the first half [was] fantastic."
If Weiss was pleased, Nepal coach Graham Thomas could not contain his displeasure with his side's performance, which was marred by faulty passing and porous defense.
"We never turned up in the first minute," Thomas said. "I've never been ashamed of my team ever. And I was ashamed in the first half. We never passed the ball.
"The first goal, absolute disgrace. The captain gave up the ball. It's hard to take this. Their excuse will be we haven't played for three months. Well, I don't accept excuses."
But Thomas was also quick give credit to the Azkals, and admitted they were the better team.
"Tonight, I thought the Philippines were fantastic. They passed the ball well. I don't usually have a go at my team, but we never showed up tonight. But not to take any credit away from the Philippines. They were fantastic."
The Azkals will now take a break and resume training in January for the AFC Challenge Cup. With the progress made this year and a potentially loaded line-up in the works, 2012 promises to be an exciting one.
"I've been playing for the last six or seven years," Phil Younghusband said. "I think now we have players that complement each other. We have a team that can potentially be very good."
"If you can imagine (Stephan) Schrock, Manny Ott, (Angel) Guirado on this team, we can have a very, very bright future," Weiss said, referring to three quality players who were not around against Nepal.
The German coach added he hoped the players will get to stay in shape playing in the United Football League, which got underway last Saturday.
"After a minimal break, they should resume high-level training with our clubs," Weiss said. "With the UFL getting more professional, it will be good. If we now drop back with our efforts in training, it will not help us."
Weiss, meanwhile, will now shift his attention to the under-23 team that will be competing in next month's Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta. The team will be in Japan from October 24 to 31 for a mini-camp as they try to win a medal in football for the first time ever.
"We will go on the 31st to Indonesia due to early start of the football competition. It's important to get [the team] together as soon as possible."
Souped-up Azkals tackle Singapore
By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SINGAPORE—Finally parading a full squad that includes their standouts from Europe, the Philippine Azkals mix it up with Southeast Asian powerhouse Singapore in their first international friendly in more than four years at the Jalan Besar Stadium here. The Azkals, coming off a runner-up finish in the Long Teng Cup in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, arrived here last night, confident that they can prove that last year’s 1-1 draw against the Singaporeans in the Suzuki Cup in Vietnam was no fluke.
The Singapore friendly is the first of two international matches in five days for the Azkals, who will return to Manila in time for the Oct. 11 showdown with Nepal at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Azkals skipper Aly Borromeo said just playing a full international friendly match outside the country is already an achievement in itself.
“This is something new for us—traveling outside Manila to play a top team like Singapore,” Borromeo said. “It’s always good for us to play at this level.”
Arriving ahead of the rest of the team, Europe-based players Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders, Ray Jonnson and Neil Etheridge welcomed their teammates outside the team hotel Thursday night.
“The prospect of playing with the team and some of the new players is exciting,” said Etheridge. “We’re hoping for a good result against Singapore.”
Cagara, the muscular Fil-Danish leftback, will make his Azkals debut in the 7:30 p.m. match against the Lions, who are using the game to prepare for their third round World Cup Qualifying clash against Jordan next week.
Azkals manager Dan Palami already marvels at the prospect of the team playing before a packed stadium after Filipinos here reportedly bought majority of the tickets for the match at the 6,000-seater venue.
“We’re happy that everywhere we go, the support of Filipinos for the team has been tremendous,” said Palami.
Undoubtedly, the squad for the Singapore friendly will be the strongest assembled yet, despite the absence of Stephan Schrock and Anton del Rosario, who are both sidelined by injuries.
“I think we have a stronger team than what we had in the Long Teng Cup and we will be able to test the new players and see what level we are really in,” said Borromeo. “I think this will be the core that we will have for the Suzuki Cup and (AFC) Challenge Cup next year.”
Without Schrock, Azkals coach Michael Weiss plans to pair up Mulders with fellow Fil-Dutch player Jason de Jong at midfield.
Mulders has been vocal of his desire to play as an attacking midfielder – his position with his club ADO Den Haag in the Dutch first division – after being deployed as leftback in the World Cup Qualifiers against Sri Lanka.
“It will be interesting to see Mulders play in his natural position,” Weiss said.
Still feeling pain in his leg, Chieffy Caligdong will be looking to sustain his scintillating form after scoring four goals in the last three matches for the Azkals.
“I’m not 100 percent but I’m ready to play,” the diminutive left winger said.
by Daryl Lagos
Following the Long Teng Cup 2011, is the Philippine National Football team's friendly clash with ASEAN Powerhouse Singapore. The Lions who agreed to meet the Azkals on Oct. 7, 2011 is reportedly fielding its "A" List team to the table, bringing in all firearms to battle & defend their home when the Philippine Azkals land on their pitch.
The match date will be falling on FIFA Calendar friendly which will allow our European based players to join in the boot fest as confirmed by PFF President Nonong Araneta. This simply means, our players will be released by their clubs to play for their respective countries.
You got that right Singapore! We'll bring in the "+" to the "A" list when we land in your soil. The Azkals hope to see Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock, Ray Jonsson, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara play together with Aly Borromeo, James & Phil Younghusband, Jason De Jong, Angel Aldeguer, Ian Araneta, and Long Teng Cup 2011 Golden Boot Awardee Chieffy Caligdong.
Although the official line up for the game has yet to be announced that will include the subs list for the match, The Phillippines is sending the Azkals in full force in Jalan Besar Stadium.
It is a highly anticipated match since the Philippines Drew the Singaporeans at their last meet in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup via a late Chris Greatwich tip in.
The match will be aired in Studio 23 Live on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 starting 6:30 P.M and Kick off is at 7:30 in the evening.
( About Singapore Team Build up )
BY BONG PEDRALVEZ
SINGAPORE will field its A team against the Philippines when the Lions host the Azkals in a friendly match tomorrow at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The Football Association of Singapore yesterday posted on its website the composition of its 23-man squad that will face the Filipinos, who will go into the game fresh from their runner-up finish in the Long Teng Invitational Cup in Kaohshiung, Taiwan last Tuesday.
The friendly will serve as a tune-up match for Singapore, which faces Jordan in a crucial Asian Word Cup third-round qualifying match next week. The Singaporeans lost to China 1-2 last Sept. 2.
Among the notable Singapore players to watch is 28-year-old goalkeeper Lionel Lewis, who was cited as the Most Valuable Player of the 2004 Tiger Cup, as the Asean football championships was then known.
The 6-foot-1 goalie, who made his national team debut in 2002, was also nominated for the 2006 Asian Footballer of the Year, the only Southeast Asian player so far to be considered for the prestigious award.
Singapore also boasts a dangerous pair of naturalized players–British-born defender David Bennett, 33, and former Serbian national and prolific striker Alexsandar Duric, 41.
Bennett, who was naturalized in 2002, is the most-capped of the Lions with 104 and was a mainstay of the national team that won the 2004 and 2007 Tiger Cups. He also won four championships with the Singapore Armed Forces Football Club in the S-League.
The eldest player in the team, Duric is still considered a scoring machine in the S-League with more than 300 goals and is a darling of Singapore football fans. Since making his Singapore team debut in 2007, the striker leads the squad with a total of 15 markers.
Another Lions to watch is former Shanghai, China native and defender Shi Jaiyi, 28, who joined the Singaporean side in 2005 and was also a prominent member of the squad that won the 2007 Tiger Cup.