MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals bowed to the Uzbekistan Under-23 Olympic team, 3-0, in a friendly game at the Maktoum Stadium Al Nasr Sports Club in Dubai.
Filipino-German keeper Roland Mueller was the busiest Azkal in the game as the Uzbeks repeatedly bombarded the goal with shots.
|Football action between the Philippine Azkals and the Uzbekistan U-23 team.
In the 12th minute, the Filipinos were caught napping on defense when Kenja Turaev escaped from his defenders and scored a goal that placed the Uzbeks at a 1-0 advantage.
Thirty minutes later, Uzbek Ivan Nagaev hiked his team’s lead to 2-0 when he struck past goalkeeper Mueller in the 42nd minute.
Half-time statistics showed that the Uzbeks enjoyed 58 ball possessions against the Azkals’ 42.
The Filipino footballers also committed 8 fouls in the first half, giving the Uzbeks several free kicks.
At the start of the second half, the Azkals came out with an improved passing game.
The Azkals even had a near goal in the 59th minute when they pulled off a good cross. The Uzbek goal keeper, however, was able to block Angel Guirado’s header.
In the 65th minute, the dangerous Nagaev struck again by taking advantage of the Azkals’ uncoordinated defense.
His shot found its way to the back of the net, bringing the score to 3-0.
It was clear from the match that the Azkals need to shape up some more since they often struggled to keep up with the well-conditioned Uzbekistan team.
The friendly is part of the Azkals’ preparations for the upcoming 2012 Challenge Cup in Nepal in March.
The Azkals will next face the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) professional football team Al Ahli SC in Doha on Monday.
Their last game in UAE will be against Australia’s Qantas Under-23 on Thursday.