Category Archives: AFF Suzuki Cup

Azkals end glorious AFF Suzuki Cup run

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.

Video credit:

meriamsijagurtube

AFF Suzuki Cup Semis: Indonesia takes Game 1

I missed the Azkals – Merah Putih game last night because of the company Christmas party. Thank heavens for instant uploads to Youtube.

I can hardly imagine the atmosphere in that gargantuan stadium – with the sea of red and white football-mad Indonesians. The sight of red fireworks amidst the 80,000-strong crowd was stunning.

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Read the Inquirer’s report on the game here

Read the post-game article from the AFF Suzuki Cup site here

Nevertheless, it was a relatively respectable result with the Philippines losing to Indonesia 0-1. It’s certainly a far cry the 0-13 shellacking in 2003 (or was it 2002?). Indonesia’s Uruguay-born striker Cristian Gonzales in the 34th minute, on a defensive lapse by Neil Etheridge. The Philippines’ Phil Younghusband failed to capitalize on some near misses.

Video credit:

sl1pers

Reposting: An Official Statement from the Azkals

I missed the Philippines – Burma game last night. With host country Vietnam beating Singapore, 1-0, the Azkals earned a spot in the supposed home-and-away semis with their scoreless draw against the Burmese. But then again, there shan’t be a “home” game for the erstwhile whipping boys of Southeast Asian football. According to the AFF, the Philippines “will not be able to play a leg of their semi-final or subsequent final at a home venue due to no available stadia in the country meeting the requirements for the AFF Suzuki Cup.”

According to a tweet by Inquirer sports scribe Cedelf Tupas, “the AFF wants a stadium with a minimum capacity of 30,000” – the Panaad Stadium in Negros Occidental only seats 20,000.

The Azkals express their thoughts in an official statement (originally posted in Rick Olivares’ Bleachers Brew).

An Official Statement from the Philippine Men’s National Football Team

Mabuhay!

The Philippine National Men’s Football Team would like to offer to every Filipino this great triumph achieved in the football fields of Vietnam.

In the 14-history of the Suzuki Cup, the Philippines only qualified twice in the biennial competition that is at once the most prestigious tournament in the Asean region.

To get through the final rounds competition in Vietnam, we played three qualifying matches Laos where we finished second to the host country to advance to Vietnam.

And for the first time, we have advanced to the semifinals where the Philippines will play Indonesia in a home and away series where the winner, determined through the aggregate goal score, will play for the championship.

As we drew 1-1 with mighty Singapore and beat the defending champions Vietnam on their home turf 2-nil with 40,000 people in the stands cheering them on, we got word of how you, our fellow Filipinos watched us, cheered us, and sent us messages of support.

Believe us when we say that it was fantastic to hear and see all of that considering how the sport has largely gone unnoticed back home. We hope that this will be the start of football taking its rightful place as a premier sport In the Philippines.

As we drew Myanmar in a scoreless affair that saw us finish second to Vietnam in our Group, we received word that the Asean Football Federation has deemed that our homefield of Panaad, Bacolod to not be up to the requirements of the AFF Suzuki Cup after consultations with PFF President Jose Mari Martinez and therefore our hard-fought “home game” will be played either in a neutral venue or at the homefield of the other semis winner.

We deplore this decision that was arrived at without consulting the national team management team or even having the facilities inspected. We believe that this is an opportunity to provide Filipinos with a chance to watch some world-class football action that will inspire our countrymen to take up the sport and break new ground for the Philippines.

Just as you were all on our side when we were playing in Vietnam, we ask that every Filipino and football fan out there to express this indignation with regard to this decision in every venue, fora, or media so that we may treat the country to Azkals football. We implore you to express yourself on twitter, facebook, messenger, and everywhere else.

After all, the home field game is rightfully ours.

The Philippine National Men’s Football Team

Team Manager – Dan Palami, Head Coach – Simon McMenemy, Assistant Coaches – Edwin Cabalida, Edzel Bracamonte, Roland Piñero, Trainers — Wally Javier and Josef Malinay, Media Officer – Rick Olivares, and the players — Ian Araneta, Jerry Barbaso, Yanti Barsales, David Mark Basa, Joebel Bermejo, Alexander Borromeo, Emelio Caligdong, Christopher Camcam, Jason de Jong, Anton del Rosario, Neil Etheridge, Mark Ferrer, Roel Gener, Robert Gier, Christopher Greatwich, Peter Jaugan, Ray Jonsson, Nestor Margarse, Reymark Palmes, Kristopher Relucio, Eduard Sacapaño, James Younghusband, and Philip Younghusband.

AFF Suzuki Cup Upset: The Philippines beats Vietnam, 2-0!

I just watched an entire football game on TV.

The Philippines stopped the Vietnamese juggernaut, two goals to nil. Fresh from drawing three-time AFF Champions Singapore, the Azkals followed it up with an emphatic victory over the regional powerhouse – the most resounding upset in AFF history!

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Read “Azkals beat Lions in AFF Suzuki Cup”

Chris Greatwich scored a header in the first half, silencing the highly partisan crowd. Despite a multitude of goal attempts, the Vietnamese couldn’t find an opening into the solid Filipino defense anchored on captain Aly Borromeo and Fulham’s Neil Etheridge. Phil Younghusband buried the hapless, oftentimes luckless Vietnamese into a 0-2 deficit as the game wound to a close.

Watch the priceless, post-game videos from Bleachers Brew

Read Rick Olivares’ “Giant Killer” from Bleachers Brew

Read the article on the game from the AFF Suzuki Cup website

All throughout the game, this football ignoramus was in constant awe, grunting with each close call – cheering with each fine play!

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Like I always say, I am not a football fan. I didn’t partake of the World Cup euphoria a few months ago. Frankly speaking, I did not see the point staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to watch a bunch of guys kick balls. Unless it’s an Ateneo football game or my sister’s team (or any of the other sisters’ team, if you get what I mean!), I don’t watch football at all!

I must admit that the resurgent Philippine national football team got me interested in the so-called beautiful game. My daily dose of Bleachers Brew also did much to get me into football mode. Call me overly patriotic, but when I see the “PHILIPPINES” written in front of a team jersey, I just get hooked. In a sense, this isn’t surprising, since international-level sporting spectacles hardly get featured in local TV.

Go Azkals!

Video credit:

AllGoalsOnline

Azkals draw Lions in AFF Suzuki Cup

Like I always say, I love a good underdog story!

A few days ago, I heard the good news of the Philippine national men’s football team’s astounding draw over three-time AFF Suzuki Cup champions Singapore. Fil-Briton Chris Greatwich scored a match-tying goal in the dying minutes of the game.

I am not a football aficionado, but I do appreciate such stellar feats of athletic fortitude.In basketball terms, the Philippines drawing Singapore is like Laos’s national basketball team narrowly losing an overtime game against Smart Gilas!

This Philippine team is no push-over. The line-up is an amalgam of hardy full-blooded Pinoys and Fil-foreigners currently playing in European professional leagues. For instance, Neil Etheridge is an alternate goalkeeper for the English Premier League team Fulham! Now that’s impressive. In track & field terms, it’s like having a world championship finalist competing for the flag and country!

I have absolutely no qualms in recruiting foreign-born athletes with Filipino ancestry to beef up our national squads. It’s a lot better than naturalizing full-blooded foreigners. The “Azkals” is an apt name for our national football team. Azkal, askal or asong-kalye quite literally translates into a hardy, street-smart dog of mixed ancestry. In a sense it’s solid representation of the Filipino diaspora. An askal, after all, is the hardiest of dogs!

For in-depth analysis and timely updates on the Azkal’s AFF campaign, read Rick Olivares’ fine sports blog, Bleachers Brew.

The next assignment for the Philippine team is powerhouse Vietnam. The game will be aired live tonight at 7:30 PM on Star Sports, if I’m not mistaken.

Go Azkals!

Video credits:

dude3nuckle

aNhnta9

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