MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – The Philippines Azkals outclassed Nepal, 4-0, in their friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.
Phil Younghusband scored 2 goals for the Philippine squad, while his brother, James Younghusband, and Matthew Hartmann struck the 2 other goals.
Phil's first goal, which came off a pass by Paul Mulders in the 17th minute, pulled the hosts ahead, 1-0.
In the 29th minute, James rifled in a long-range strike that nutmegged a Nepalese defender and evaded the outstretched arms of the opposing goalkeeper.
It resulted in the Azkals enjoying a 2-0 advantage, but the goalfest didn't end there.
Phil struck his second goal in the 55th minute that sent the Filipino crowd in a cheering frenzy.
The Nepalese squad almost pulled one back in the 61st minute but Filipino-British goal keeper Neil Etheridge was keen on a clean sheet.
Phil nearly pulled off a hat trick with his attempts in the 65th and 67th minute.
He later delivered an assist for Hartmann, who scored the Azkals’ 4th goal in the 89th minute.
The Azkals displayed brilliant ball handling, enjoying majority of the possession against Nepal.
They had 14 shots at the goal against Nepal’s 5. Their 18 fouls clearly showed that they had a more physical game than the Nepalese.
"Four-zero is a great result against a team that's ranked a lot higher than us,” said Etheridge during a post-game interview with ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo.
“Unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted against Singapore… we keep on moving in and hopefully in 2012 we show everyone how good we are," he added.
Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss said he is happy with his team’s performance, adding that most of his players contributed well for the victory.
“I'm very happy and proud of the team. I'm very happy and very proud of Phil Younghusband who gave us the right answer and proved he's a high profile striker. Also our [Fil-foreign] players who played 2 matches in 4 days, and the rest of the team,” Weiss told sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz.
The German coach, meanwhile, asked the team’s detractors for support instead of criticisms.
He said this raise his boys' morale against foreign competition.
“I hope they also realize they [should] keep on supporting instead of putting negative mentalities on the team,” said Weiss.
It was a fitting rebound for the Filipino squad, which recently lost to Singapore, 0-2.
The Azkals hope that their performance against Nepal will raise their FIFA world ranking.
Nepal is ranked 135th in the world, while the Philippines is placed 166th.