Azkals yield to Laotians in ill-tempered ‘friendly’


Unable to build on its strong performance against Singapore, the Philippines absorbed a 1-2 loss to lower-ranked Laos Monday night in an ill-tempered showdown in Vientiane that capped its three-country Southeast Asian swing aimed at preparing the squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup late this year.

The Azkals conceded two second-half penalty kicks which the Laotians duly converted, before grabbing a late consolation goal from defender Rob Gier, who scored his first international goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

Playing their third match in six days, the Azkals missed top striker Phil Younghusband, his brother, James, who flew back to Manila Saturday, and Jerry Lucena, who returned to Denmark after the 2-0 win over Singapore last Friday.

The travel-weary Azkals attacked with little purpose and struggled to cope with the fluid passing of the Laotians, who extended their unbeaten streak against the Philippines to nine matches.

But the match will be remembered more for its ill-tempered nature, particularly the melee in the second half where Misagh Bahadoran was sent off along with a Laotian player.

Prior to the melee, replays showed that the Fil-Iranian was struck in the mouth after getting tangled with a Laos defender.

Azkals manager Dan Palami offered no excuses, saying that Laos deserved the win.

“It was a heated, physical and highly competitive game that we wanted to win badly but these do not excuse some of our players for losing their temper,” said Palami. “We truly apologize for the incident.”

Minutes later, Stephan Schrock and Jason Sabio were jawing with another Laotian player, Keoviengphet Liththideth, while another player was seen throwing a punch, almost sparking a free-for-all.

The Azkals’ fortunes hardly changed after the incident and minutes later, Laos doubled the advantage with Visay Paphouvanin slotting home a penalty after he was brought down by Neil Etheridge.

Patrick Reichelt sent a left-footed effort high and wide, before Mulders volleyed over seven minutes from time as the Azkals grew desperate.

Gier’s goal came from a long throw-in from Sabio, whose ball appeared to have touched a Laos defender’s hand before falling kindly to Gier inside the six-yard box.

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  • peteryang47

    Frankly some players in  South East Asian teams  and not only the Azkals need to learn to control their tempers.   Some of them, when they find the match is not going as to what they had hope for, resort to dirty and vicious tackles on players than to go for the ball.
    Even some my own fellow country men footballers, are the guilty ones as well. Emotion run high but it is not a good excuse nor a valid reason that one should resort to dirty tactics to hurt his opponent. A true Professional will always abide by the rule of  sportmanship play and not allowed himself to get carried away. In my lifetime as player, i received  yellow cards twice  and never got sent off in my career and it was because we were taught to abide by the rules and to the whistle even if decision doesnt favour the team, seem to be unfair and uncalled for, and we were taught to play football, to go for the ball and not the opponents legs, The bottomline is  we were taught never to bring the game into dispute, One player  moment of madness can cost the entire team to lose focus and therefore lose the match. Today modern game, its all bout winning and even if it takes to win ugly and dirty , so be it. This kills the beautiful game.

  • Maglalawis

    I hope the team learned a lot from this game. I hope that come Suzuki Cup, they will keep their cool and be mentally tough in games like this one. The good news is FIFA removed this game from their sanctioned friendlies because the referees are not FIFA sanctioned. Thus, there is no worry in sliding down the ranking.

  • disqususer22

    the azkals have come far. ang ganda nung passing sa Laos game, actually. ‘di nga lang na-convert. they are a real contender for Suzuki. [wow, for once in our lives we have what’s closest to a “bye,” ha ha!] 

    but yes. the mind does plays tricks on us when we get too much attention. combine that with youth (key azkals members are a bunch of kids in their early to mid 20’s) and huge frames, and a certain sense of entitlement, you have a powder keg for trouble. :) 

    still, all for the promotion of football and other sports. :D 

    • Maglalawis

      I agree with your first observation but to assume that these kids have swelled heads is way overboard because in any game of football with that kind of officiating and intentionally physical opponents, trouble is never far away. It’s a mans sport so in situations like that, it is inevitable albeit unnecessary considering that it is only a friendly. You assumed too much about these guys and you’re burdening them with too much expectation. Try to watch more international football games before saying anything bad to our boys.

      • disqususer22

        hmmm. i can sense agitation. sad. nevertheless, no i’m not exactly assuming. i do observe how the azkals play. people like etheridge (in the recent Challenge Cup) and james younghusband (in many local games) have a certain air about them. james even wags his finger on our local officials. is that the “kind of officiating” you’re referring to? the one too humble in front of violators, making them more undisciplined? 

        look, maybe they’re nice people, and you seem to be very in-the-know. but what they do sometimes is just too… “show”-y. 

        but yes, i will watch more international games because it’s fun. hopefully in those other games, the impression i’ve had of the azkals a while back will be proven wrong. 

        [incidentally, the idea that we can’t avoid situations like this because we are “men” is exactly the kind of thinking that brings us to all these unnecessary breast-beating. ako lalake, atapang atao! ako suntok kalaban sa football! haaiyaaaah! 

        i don’t know. it’s too macho.] :) 

  • BryanMatt

    Same old story for Azkals. Lack of discipline and macho-posing. Players like Etheridge (sent off remember for a silly kick at an opponent in a recent tournament) and Schrock should be cool heads when dropping down from their England and German league pressures to play teams like Laos. But they’re not; maybe for Etheridge the Pinoy superstar status has gone to his head. Palami and Weiss need to sort this out or the team will never succeed at a higher level.

    • Maglalawis

      Put yourself in that situation. Put yourself in their shoes if you think you can keep your cool. It’s because you only play basketball that’s why you’ll never understand! Try to watch more football if i were you. Try watching South American football teams “killing each other” for flag and country. Why can’t we see it the other way around? Kinawawa mga bata naten dun, ginulpi bukod sa bias na mga officials and to think na dayo pa sila dun tapos mamasamain mo pa ang character ng mga bata naten? Good job sa’yo ser! Ang galing mo! Tunay kang Pilipino!

      • BryanMatt

        Thanks for the somewhat irate reply. This is the kind of hot-headedness I was talking about. Just so we’re straight. I’m a huge fan of football and have been absolutely delighted to follow its renaissance in the Philippines (I stood up for the Azkals in many previous commentaries I have submitted). I think my comments are constructive. Before you get angry and start making assumptions: I played football from the age of 5 to 52 (that’s 47 years). I played semi-professionally in England (where I was born; I’ve never played basketball!) and also played in the Philippines for San Miguel in the early 80s (under Juan Cutillas who has also been national team coach). I was a  reporter covering football for newspapers in the UK. I worked for the organising committeed of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 1988 Seoul Olympics. So — without wishing to appear boastful — I know quite a lot about football and quite a lot about the pressures of sport at the highest levels. The best way to represent your country is to play hard and passionately but keep your cool when under pressure. Players used to the Bundesliga (Schrock) or Premier League (Etheridge) should be able to lead by example vs a team like Laos 
        Kind regards(PS: I’m also annoyed that England captain Steven Gerrard got a red card last night)  

  • Jao Romero

    when you lose your temper, you lose the game. i can excuse the loss, but not the childish attitude of the players. pathetic display of sportsmanship. jawing with opponents in a friendly game. really pathetic.

    • Maglalawis

      Ikaw na lang maglaro dun ser. Ang hirap kasi sa atin napakaraming armchair generals!

      • Jao Romero

        ayoko maglaro, gs2 ko coach.

      • parker79

        hahaha! ako water boy lang coach.

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