22 November 2014

Younghusband Back to Form as Azkals Rip Laos 4-1

Photo captured from video on the 2014 AFF
Suzuki Cup YouTube Channel.
It initially did not quite go according to script; but in the end it was a comfortable 4-1 win for the Philippine Azkals against their former bogey opponents from Indochina. Two wins in a row over Laos, the first one in the AFC Challenge Cup, and the hoodoo that the Laotians once held over us appears to have been expunged.

Of course, it looked anything but after 21 minutes when Sayavutth curled an exquisite freekick over the Philippines wall which thumped against he post and into goal. Patrick Deyto, debuting in the AFF Suzuki Cup, had absolutely no chance.

Not that the freekick ought to have been conceded in the first place. Two successive cup finals had been lost because of freekicks conceded in dangerous positions. The lesson appears to still be unlearned by the Philippines’ defence.

Today, the culprit was Juani Guirado, who clumsily bundled over a Laotian forward just top of the penalty box. It really ought to have been a straightforward case of Guirado using his size to coax the forward wide and away from goal. Instead, his clumsy challenge was all the invitation the Laotion player needed to go down in melodramatic fashion.


Although the Philippines played expansive and attractive football going forward, there were only a few times when the team lost its shape. Encouragingly, the transition from attack to defence was faster and players all scampered back to plug holes at the back the moment possession was lost.
Guirado used to be half of a steady centre-back partnership with Robert Gier during the Michael Weiss era. He is still an imposing figure at the heart of defence; but early in the game appeared as though he needed a refresher on the principles of defending such as staying goal-side of the attacking player.

There are two more group matches to play during which Guirado can regain his confidence; and hopefully Thomas Dooley will not have to pay for freezing him out for most of this year’s international matches.

Exquisite as Laos’ goal was, what was unfortunate from the Laotian point of view was that it was scored when there were still 70 minutes of the game to be played. Laos never looked like the sort who could keep the Philippines out for the entirety of the 90. More importantly, there was only one occasion when they looked like adding to the one goal that they scored.

There was almost an inevitability considering the amount of corners that Laos were conceding that a Philippine goal would come from one. Simone Rota attacked a delightful corner from Manny Ött at the near post in the 40th minute for the equaliser.

Just before the half ended, the Philippines were ahead. There were signs during the recent friendly against Cambodia that talismanic striker Phil Younghusband was returning to his best form at just the right time.

His resurgence continued with an exquisite header in the 45th minute. The Philippines broke down the left flank and Jerry Lucena sent in a pin-point cross which Younghusband nodded down away from the reach of the desperately diving Laos goalkeeper.

Patrick Reichelt, who replaced the ineffectual Mark Hartmann in the second half, added a brace in the 77th and 89th minutes to give the Philippines’ victory the gloss it so richly deserved. Significantly, both of Reichelt’s goals were created by Younghusband.

The second, in particular, showed the vision that the Philippines will need more of from Younghusband if they are to progress into the semi-finals. Receiving the ball on the left flank, he curled the ball with the outside of his foot around and behind the Laotian defence for Reichelt to administer the coup de grace with the simplest of taps in.

The Philippines’ performance was not perfect; and indeed, the defensive shortcomings were again evident especially early on in the match. However, Laos were a potential banana skin skipped over gracefully. Hopefully, Dooley can iron out the defensive kinks and allow Guirado and Amani Aguinaldo to settle into a partnership that can grow into the tournament.

In midfield and attack, the Philippines had the sort of verve and fluency that Thailand of the Kiatisuk era would have been proud of. The Ött-Martin Steuble inside-midfield partnership against Cambodia looked promising. Tonight, Ött reprised his role inside but was partnered instead by Lucena. The pair looked even better.

Of course, it remains to be seen if the Philippines’ possession can be as crisp and purposeful against the professionals from Indonesia and Vietnam. That said, the most encouraging aspect of tonight’s performance was the work ethic that Dooley had so evidently instilled upon his players.

Although the Philippines played expansive and attractive football going forward, there were only a few times when the team lost its shape. Encouragingly, the transition from attack to defence was faster and players all scampered back to plug holes at the back the moment possession was lost.

The desire is apparent and heartening. If a bit more composure can be attained in front of goal at the defensive end, it may yet be third time lucky for Dooley’s Philippine Azkals.






Share:

SUBSCRIBE BY E-MAIL

SUPPORT THIS SITE

If you wish to support this site by making a donation for the maintenance costs of this site, please click the PayPal button below:

Big thanks to donors:
Glenn Amante
Timothy Guevarra
John Toomey

CONTACT LIFE SO MUNDANE

Name

Email *

Message *