FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Philippine Azkals vs Sri Lanka Brave Reds (Play by Play)



The Philippine Azkals will play the second leg of their series against the Brave Reds of Sri Lanka without a crappy rugby-turned-football field and in front of the hometown crowd. The people who improved the Rizal Memorial Football Field said that the field is poolproof and that’s nice. The match will be contested in front of pro-Azkals crowd and despite of the heat (that we all know will turn afterwards into rain) they are going all out to support the blue and gold.

Nice color by the way.

If the Azkals score two or more and the match ends up with a tie, the privilege arrow will move towards the Philippines.

Phil Younghusband will be playing in this match and Angel Locsin will be out to cheer on her alleged boy toy.

Hmmm...


FIRST HALF:

The Azkals started strong with the Sri Lankan goal constantly under attack. After the Sri Lankan goalie Fernando asked for medical attention, the Azkals were awarded a free kick. The commentators said that the goalie could be stalling to create semblance for his teammates. A couple of minutes later James Younghusband (twice), Angel Guirado, and Phil Younghusband attempted to do damage. For the other side, Neil Etheridge stopped the goal once. You can see that the Azkals are attacking like hell which is a serious improvement from the first match. The Azkals’ offense is so rabid that most of the action barely touches the Sri Lankan side.

The rain also made it an advantage for the Azkals.   

I wonder if Angel Locsin brought an umbrella?

In the 14th minute, the Brave Reds tried to score but Etheridge was there to stop it. In this game, Rob Gier and Aly Borromeo are doing wonders in defending.

In the 17th minute, Phil Younghusband’s goal attempt was blocked. In the 18th minute, Gier stopped the Sri Lankan offense.

And then in the 19th minute...

Phil Younghusband passed an awesome shot to Chieffy Caligdong.

And then...

CHIEFFY CALIGDONG GOAL!!!

The aggregate score is now 2-1 in favor of the Azkals.

Moments later Manny Ott went down and Rohana Dinesh gets the yellow card.

In the 22nd minute, Phil Younghusband almost scored but the goalie stopped it. Unfortunately for him, he lost the ball and it set up the Azkals for a corner.

The midfield is awesome for the Philippines. Stephan Schrock is doing a helluva job defending and moving the ball towards our goal. Paul Maulders is playing well also.

At the 28th minute, Angel Guirado and Phil Younghusband had also tried their best to score.

At the 29th minute, Sri Lanka is awarded a free kick but they couldn’t properly use it. Guirado then got the ball and attempted it but it never went in.

At the 31st minute, Guirado recovered the ball and passed it to James Younghusband and that shot almost went in!

This is a fantastic game for the Azkals offensively and defensively to the point that Etheridge has seen little TV time.

At the 32nd, Anton Del Rosario got a yellow card. Moments later, the Brave Reds bungled two attempts to score. At the 35th minute, Borromeo foiled a Sri Lankan attempt. As the rain subsides, so did Sri Lanka’s silence.

Crap. Stephan Schrock gets a yellow card. Because he had a yellow card in Sri Lanka, he will definitely miss the match against Kuwait. Michael Weiss is livid. Schrock has been a revelation in the tournament and surely the need his services.

In the 38th minute, the Azkals almost scored anew if not the goalie Fernando’s save against the Aly Borromeo header from a Chieffy Caligdong corner. Moments later, the Sri Lankan forward missed his attempt to snag a goal. James Younghusband’s shot was easily saved by Fernando.

In the 42nd minute, the Sri Lankan botched a pass, Phil Younghusband raced to the net. Fernando went down and when Phil got the ball, he took it and it went in... but with controversy. The refs wanted to waive it because Phil was allegedly nudged by the Brave Red defender but looking at the replay, it was a slight nudge and the goal was officially given to the Azkals much to the Sri Lankans’ chagrin. 

PHIL YOUNGHUSBAND GOAL!!!

By the way, good for Angel Locsin to sit in the place where the seats are covered!

Bubbles Paraiso too.

The aggregate score is now 3 goals to one!


SECOND HALF:

The rains have stopped and the Rizal Stadium is apparently a trending topic.

At the 47th Phil tried to cross the ball to Guirado but he missed Angel. Meanwhile, Anton Del Rosario at a great tackle to foil the Reds’ attack.

In the 49th minute, the Sri Lankan defender hugged Phil Younghusband.

MASCULINITY FAIL!

At the 50th minute Angel Guirado managed to score a goal coming from a great cross from James Younghusband. Guirado waited for Fernando to commit and when he fell Guirado struck an impressive shot!

ANGEL GUIRADO GOAL!!!

At the 55th minute, the Sri Lankan defender vented his frustrations of Stephan Schrock and that idiotic move got the Azkals a penalty kick.

Phil Younghusband was tasked to score the goal.

And at the 56th minute...

PHIL YOUNGHUSBAND GOAL!!!

At this point the Brave Reds are too distraught and the frustrations are sinking in.

Ian Araneta is now all set to come in to Phil Younghusband and the crowd shows their love for the team’s most popular striker.

Wait? What? 23 minutes in the second half, Aly Borromeo gets another yellow card! Since Aly got a yellow card in the match in Sri Lanka he too will be forced to sit out just like what Stephan Schrock had.

Chieffy Caligdong tried for a long ball but Fernando saves it.

At the 69th minute, Guirado was down and Caligdong was down and no ref whistle. Caligdong was later shipped off the field via a stretcher.

Ian Araneta tried to score a shot at the 71st minute but to no avail as well. At the 72nd minute, Araneta tried again to score en route to a corner kick. Caligdong then raced to the game again which is good news for the Azkals.

Roel Gener will come in while Etheridge managed to stop two Brave Red goals. Moments later, Gener is officially in for Caligdong. The crowd is chanting Chieffy’s name as Caligdong goes to Weiss.

At the 81st minute, Araneta had two separate plays where he could score but to no avail.

Come to think of it, Nate Burkey, the only player for the Azkals to score in their match in Sri Lanka did not see action in this game.

At the 83rd minute, James Younghusband missed a nifty shot.

At the 88th minute, the Sri Lanka defender got a second yellow card in the game which is an automatic red card and this leaves the Brave Reds with ten players.

As if that matters...

At stoppage time, Guirado almost scored. Schrock also had a chance but missed as well. And then after three minutes of action, the match is over! The Philippines debuts international play in the newly-furnished Rizal Stadium and the World Cup dream is alive!

THE AZKALS ADVANCES TO THE NEXT ROUND AGAINST KUWAIT ON JULY 23!


POST-GAME NOTES:

Unlike in their first match, the Azkals were more fluid and their passing is on target. While again, our shots aren’t that crisp, you cannot fault them for this helluva match. The transition to defense to attack was spot on. Throughout the game the Azkals toyed with the Brave Reds and except for a bunch of corners the Azkals never gave Sri Lanka the chance.

There are issues that need to be discussed though. Even with the romp, the Azkals need to shore up their offense. I can count two gimmes that failed to work because the goal wasn’t timed perfectly. Sri Lanka are babies compared to Kuwait and in order for us to reach the next level, we have to demonstrate our dominance against other Middle Eastern squads.

By the way... Go Azkals Go is a crappy song!

The other pressing matter they need to address is the suspensions to Aly Borromeo and Stephan Schrock. Schrock is a diamond in the rough while Borromeo is the team’s leader. Who will they insert to the starting lineup to cure what they lack?  

Let’s see what happens.

This game was fun to watch and hopefully, the other games will still be on our favor.

Game over.

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