Azkals rally to retain Peace Cup boot crown

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BACOLOD CITY—Inspired by the brilliance of German Bundesliga veteran Stephan Schrock, the Philippines claimed the Philippine Peace Cup with a come-from-behind 3-1 triumph over Pakistan amid a festive atmosphere at Panaad Stadium here.

The fleet-footed Schrock, who plays club football for Eintracht Frankfurt, set up the equalizer of Patrick Reichelt in the 33rd minute before capping his heroics with a well-taken goal two minutes from time that sent the crowd into delirium.

Known for delivering important goals for the country, midfielder Chris Greatwich scored the go-ahead goal for 2-1 in the 78th minute.

The Azkals dropped a 1-2 decision to Chinese-Taipei on opening-day last Friday and needed at least a 2-1 victory to keep the Peace Cup.

They did that and more with a strong performance that provided a glimpse of their potential when they vie for an Asian Cup berth in the AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives in May.

“The team showed what they can achieve if they play cohesively,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami, who, along with Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, received the trophy from Bacolod City mayor Monico Puentevella. “We know there’s a long way to go for us but we’re happy with the win as it boosts our confidence.”

Etheridge was solid in between the posts, while Rob Gier and Juani Guirado were hardly troubled in the second half. Jerry Lucena put in a fine shift as defensive midfielder, while Misagh Bahadoran, getting a rare start, provided flashes of brilliance on the left flank.

Just like in past matches that mattered, the Azkals proved resilient even after going behind after 15 minutes when Hassan Bashir cut inside Jerry Barbaso and slotted the ball past a helpless Neil Etheridge.

Schrock’s quality, however, was there for everyone to see. He spearheaded the comeback, flicking the ball past a defender before going on a bristling run down the line. With time and space, Schrock found Reichelt at the middle for a first-time finish to a quick counter-attack.  Mark Giongco, INQUIRER.NET

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  • Maglalawis

    Resiliency… That’s what the Azkals is all about! Great job boys!

  • Alala Peter

    congrats azkals ! puso !

  • CmdrAdobo

    I dont think the team improved after weiss took over. let’s sack weiss.

  • Noel

    I’ve said this several times and saying it again…we cannot win international games if the team is not intact. When important games come, many of these excellent players have commitment in their mother clubs.

    • Maglalawis

      Official international matches like this one is included in the FIFA Calendar so that players will be released by their respective clubs for international duty.

      • Noel

        Thanks. So, Suzuki Cup is not sanctioned by FIFA that’s why some foreign players were not able to play.

      • Maglalawis

        All international football matches, be it in an official competition or in a friendly are sanctioned by FIFA because the result of the fixture will affect the teams ranking. Although there are cases wherein FIFA finds any infractions then they forfeit the result of the match. The elimination rounds of the Suzuki Cup falls under International Matches of the FIFA Calendar except for the Semis and the Finals that’s why some of our international Pinoy players were not able to participate in last years Semis against Singapore. And please do not call them foreign players because they are not, rather, they are our international or foreign based Filipino players because “foreign players” are not Filipinos.

  • bryanbrian

    Congrats to the team!

  • RedvD

    Congrats, hope this win helps relieve some pain in our Visayan kababayans

    • CmdrAdobo

      huh? how?

  • Alala Peter

    mabuhay azkals !

  • peteryang47

    Congrats, to the Philippines football team the Azkals, It’s good to see the team picked themselves up after the opening match lost to Chinese Taipei.
    It is always easier to win the Cup than to defend the Cup as reigning Champion, By retaining the Cup, the team showed maturity and character in their game approach,
    Congrats once again,

  • bArrackeR

    Congratulations Azkals!!! Way to go!!!

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