Raphael Phoebus M. Ubales
Earlier today (March 16, 2012), the Philippines witnessed football history for our country during the semi-finals match of the AFC Challenge Cup between the Philippine Azkals and the Turkmenistan Green Men.
An optimistic nation (amidst the controversies back home) embraced the challenge to beat the Turkmenistan team in the hopes of clinching a spot for the finals.
Although we had a very nice first half, we were not able to sustain a 1 – 0 score from the goal hungry Turks, ending the game with 2 goals later for the Turkmenistan team.
It was almost a dream come true when Paul Mulder’s cross from the right made a perfect combination with Phil Younghusband just in time to nick the ball with his chest to take advantage of the moment, making it 1 – 0. It was when Amanov saw the opportunity of given time and space outside of the box to chip in the ball to beat our goalkeeper. It was followed shortly by Chonkaev’s ball-handling skills and attack that slotted the ball and sealed the deal for their finals berth.
As the ball pressed forward to the Turk’s post during the added injury time, an agonized Chonkaev was down. Confusion broke on the field and the final call was a red card for Etheridge. This is where the photo comes in...
According to the ref’s call, Neil was given the red because of an incident that was caught on cam. But now, looking at this photo, do we have another perspective that was left buried after the final whistle?
Who would have thought that the reason for Neil’s behavior was his response to this stimulus? You cannot deny what happened in this shot. We could have played dirty, but Football is a game for the friendly.
I was personally more disappointed than disgusted. The photo may also somehow show that the Turk’s were intimidated with the Azkals that they needed to resort to such cheap tricks. I don’t know, this is just my opinion. Football is definitely a game of chance.
We could’ve won if things turned out differently, but as a young team, we did splendid. Amidst the controversies that the team is now facing, they kept fighting for our country.
These Filipinos fought hard and they played fair. At the end of the day, I couldn’t have been more proud with how these boys including Coach Weiss and the people behind them strived hard to put Football in the Philippine limelight. Your thoughts?