Thoughts on Azkals’ win vs Myanmar-A A +A
Friday, February 8, 2013
THE Philippine Azkals, playing their first international friendly game of the year, survived the relentless pressure by Myanmar to salvage a 1-0 victory. Coach Hans Michael Weiss’ wards played sluggishly in the first half, as Myanmar took advantage of the defensive lapses by the Azkals. Fortunately, Myanmar was not able to connect any goal despite the gaps.
Here’s our take on the Azkals’ match.
Neil Etheridge is back. Our number 1 goal keeper is finally back after missing some of the most important games last year due to club commitment. His imposing presence in the goal definitely was a boost for the team. Although Etheridge was stretched to the limit by the Myanmar offense, he has shown us that he’s sharp and provided us a brief moment of relief, despite resistance from Myanmar strikers to score. His quick reflexes and his decision-making were simply outstanding. As long as Neil is our main keeper, we do not fear the opposition. The question now is: How long can he stay with the Azkals? Is he available for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers come March?
OJ’s big day. OJ Porteria was the lone bright spot up for the Azkals last night. Phil Younghusband has been a marked man all throughout the match and was constantly challenged by the defense. But OJ simply outsmarted and outpaced his defenders in the left field. His goal came in the 78th minute where he overplayed his two defenders and swerved the ball right into the goal. It was an amazing goal where Myanmar has been outhustling and outplaying the Azkals all night long. For sure, OJ’s goal will be in highlight reel for a long time. However, we give it to the Azkals for playing better football in the last 15 minutes, as Coach Weiss pushed his players to the limit. As always, the boys delivered and the victory was fitting.
Rob Geir, the Man-mountain. Rob Geir was simply the best performing defensive player in the Azkals where he made some well-timed stops and tackles. The experienced Geir played huge just to coordinate the defense and challenge the fast and furious Myanmar forwards. The young and talented Myanmar will surely be a force to reckon with in the future. But as they build, the Azkals continue their run for glory. With Geir clanking on the cylinders behind, it’s just a matter of time before we achieve another run in time for the Challenge Cup.
The victory last night showed us so many flaws in the Azkals style of play. So many missed passes due to miscommunication, the conditioning was not that superb yet, players playing not their usual position and we definitely miss a lot of players.
We understand coach Weiss is testing his team and, hopefully, they will be humming again come March for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. We have to set our sights on the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, as this tournament is the ticket to the premier football tournament in Asia, the Asian Cup. (Jun-Jun Carballo–Contributor)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 08, 2013.