I’d say it was a fortuitous 3-2 win by the Philippines over Timor Leste in the Azkals’ second match of the 2018 Suzuki Cup.
The Philippines was lucky to walk away with the win instead of a draw with their on-and-off play.
What are my thoughts about the match?
The old dogs have new tricks up their sleeves
I heard it before the tournament, that Phil Younghusband lost his scoring touch. Can’t keep a good man down. It was his flick that led to the Patrick Reichelt goal (although the Reichelt’s skill got him out of a couple of tackles).
And in this match, the country’s top international goalscorer tallied another one.
Furthermore, Carli De Murga headed in the game winner.
How about for a revival of the veterans? In the opening match win against Singapore, Paul Mulders struck! Not bad for someone getting in on the years.
Now if we can see Stephan Schrock or even James Younghusband get one in . . .
The quality the Philippines brings to bear each game.
The final score aside, you can see the quality and depth of the Azkals. And we appreciate that. The sloppy play aside, I think it was because they took Timor Leste a bit lightly. More so the opponent wasn’t even playing at home but in Malaysia of all places. There’s no home field advantage.
While of course, it shouldn’t be that way, I think the boys know that and won’t make a repeat of that. They have been around the block for a while that occasional lapses occur. Besides, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.
Instead of folding, Timor Leste showed their grit.
After the De Murga goal in the 68th minute, you could see the disappointment in goalkeeper Aderito Fernandes’ face. But instead of hanging their heads, Timor Leste fought their way back into the match.
I thought that they became more daring. They weren’t always fast on the counter, but their players made deft moves to beat their defenders. The sloppy play including one poor clearance by Philippine goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard that nearly resulted in a goal by Henrique Wilson Da Cruz Martins.
They were able to get nine shots at our goal with five on target – the same number of chances as the Azkals had. And they scored two goals in a three-minute span – one by Nataniel De Jesus Reis and another by Joao Pedro Da Silva Freitas. That’s say something about them too.
So what’s next?
A home match with perhaps a parting of ways with co-Group B leader, Thailand, on November 21. I have a feeling we’ll get past Thailand and the team’s confidence will grow and spur them on deep into the tournament.
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