By Mikhail de Guzman | Soccer Central Philippines |
Keen on erasing the 3-0 defeat they suffered against the Uzbekistan Under-23 last Saturday, the Azkals exorcised their own demons as they defeated Qatari side Al Ahli 3-1 in Doha, Qatar Monday night.
The first ten minutes saw the Azkals take the lead from an indirect free kick after Al Ahli’s goalkeeper handed the incoming backpass. Phil Younghusband was able to slot home the ball through goal from James Younghusband’s backheel pass.
Building their confidence with the opener, the Azkals continued their assault on the Al Ahli defense with another chance as Angel Guirado found Younghusband open again, however the goalkeeper was able to deny the Azkals a two-goal cushion.
Likewise for the defense of the Azkals, the back four tandem of Carlos de Murga, Jason Sabio, who has continued his fine form on defense, Juan Luis Guirado and Ray Jonsson proved to be a wall denying each wave of Al Ahli’s attacks, and also the source of counter attack from the defensive half.
Heading in to halftime, the Azkals were able to double the advantage after Angel Guirado curled a long ball towards James Younghusband, who was able to force a save from the goalkeeper and in turn allowing Denis Wolf to slot home the rebound in the 45th minute.
In the second half, Al Ahli committed several changes to the lineup while the Azkals retained the squad, but that did not stop the Philippine side scoring as Roland Muller’s goalkick found a free Phil Younghusband against the run of play, scoring his second goal of the match.
Al Ahli were able to slot home a consolation goal in the 57th minute through a volley from Al Ahli’s Abshiri that found the back of the net.
The Azkals almost made it four goals on several occasions as Marwin Angeles found a rushing James Younghusband only for his shot to skim past the right post. A second chance again from Younghusband found his brother Phil only to sail off the bar. Lastly, Angel Guirado missed his spot kick as the ball hit the post before rebounding to the goalkeeper after he was tackled inside the penalty area.
But the two goal cushion was already enough as the Azkals end the match with a 3-1 victory against Al Ahli.
The Azkals will be facing Qantas Australia Under-23 on Thursday. This is the same squad that faced the Uzbekistan Under-23 last February 5 in a 2-0 win in favour of the Uzbek side.