Azkals blank Turkmen, face Maldives in semis

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Monday, May 26, 2014


THE Philippine Azkals stopped Turkmenistan for good, 2-0 to earn a semifinal seat in the AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives Saturday behind Phil Younghusband and Patrick Reichelt.

Younghusband scored first on a free kick in the 49th minute evading and passing through the Turkmenistan defensive wall.

Ceres La Salle FC's Reichelt then sent the insurance goal in the 73rd minute off a long cross pass from Martin Steuble.

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Turkmenistan almost got its first goal on Aleksandr Boliyan's penalty kick but Azkals’ second choice keeper Roland Müller, who had a great night protecting the Philippines’ goal, read the shot well and succeeded.
The Turkmen came out with an aggressive first half making Müller the busiest goalkeeper of the evening, but the Filipinos returned the favor in the second half as they took the game’s momentum.

The win marked the Azkals' second straight semifinal appearance in this tournament and will face host-team Maldives tomorrow at the National Stadium.

For Ceres-La Salle FC club administrator Nicolas Golez, it was a very good win for the Azkals.

“It was a team effort and the team showed composure. Reichelt was a superb substitution choice and I think the Azkals are gaining their confidence in every game,” he said.

Ceres’ Korean technical director Cha Soung Yooung said that Reichelt is very good player.

“He knows how to use space, is well focused and has lots of potential,” he stressed.

The other semifinal match features Group A leader Palestine and Group B No. 2 Afghanistan.

All the semifinalists are hoping to win one more time, take the title and advance to the Asian Cup in Australia next year.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 26, 2014.

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