Azkals pounce on Nepal for Dooley's first win


Posted at Apr 12 2014 10:37 AM | Updated as of Apr 13 2014 09:49 AM

MANILA - The Philippine Azkals earned their first win under new American coach Thomas Dooley with a convincing 3-0 victory over Nepal in their friendly match Friday night at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Dooley, who replaced German coach Michael Weiss early this year, fielded an experimental first XI consisting of goalkeeper Nicholas O'Donnell; defenders Simone Rota, Rob Gier, Juan Guirado, Daisuke Sato; midfielders James Younghusband, Christopher Greatwich, Martin Steuble, Curt Dizon; and Jason De Jong taking a more advanced role alongside Patrick Reichelt.

O'Donnel, Sato, and Dizon earned their first international cap in the match, which was aired live by ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23.

Dooley's confidence in Dizon paid off, as the winger opened the scoring for the Azkals in the 15th minute.

Sato made the goal happen with a pass for Dizon from near the halfway line, with latter beating Nepal's offside trap and connecting on a well-taken low shot that found the back of the net.

With the Azkals playing an attack-minded shorter passing game and build up from the back, Steuble made it 2-0 for the Azkals in the 32nd minute with a power header from point-blank range through a cross from James Younghusband.

Phil Younghusband, who came in for yellow-carded De Jong in the second half, had a chance to increase the Azkals' lead in the 70th minute but his free kick from just outside the box sailed above the crossbar.

Doctora, who replaced Dizon at the half, also missed two golden scoring opportunities.

However, Doctora made up for his earlier misses with a goal in the 90th minute that sealed Nepal's fate -- and to the delight of Filipinos in Qatar who trooped to the stadium to watch the Azkals in action.

It was Dooley's first win as Azkals gaffer after the Philippines absorbed a 0-1 loss at the hands of Azerbaijan and a goalless draw against Malaysia.

The Azkals will next face Qatari club Al-Ahli on Monday, as part of the Philippines' preparations for the AFC Challenge Cup next month.

ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 will air a replay of the Philippines-Nepal match at 4 p.m. today, Saturday.