The Azkals lose to the Merah Putih, 0-1.
Cristian Gonzales’ accurate shot at the 43rd minute spelled the difference between victory and defeat. The Uruguayan-born striker made the stellar shot after several tantalizingly close attempts. The Philippines’ prolific goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, did the best he could to stop the powerful volley from hitting the back of the net.
To quote the words of a college friend and football fan, RJ Jalijali, even Iker Casillas couldn’t stop that shot.
Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup
All game long, the Indonesians had more chances at goal. The Philippine defense was relatively more porous this time, with the Indonesians having quite a few close shaves. A combination of sheer luck and superb goal keeping kept the deficit from growing any further.
We had our chances though. Chris Greatwich, who owns 2 of the Philippines’ 3 goals this tournament, had a couple of missed opportunities. The New Jersey-based striker almost equalized with a header that landed on top of the net.
Nevertheless, it was a great run for the Azkals. Let’s just hope that all these new-found attention showered upon our national football team will not turn out to be mere flashes in the pan.
The magnificent Azkals run had piqued my interest on the beautiful game. I am still not a football fan though. I probably never will be. But I am definitely watching the next Azkals game aired on TV (whenever that is) – for flag and country.
There are just some things that transcend personal preferences.