Azkals yield to theatrical Thais in rugged AFF duel

Phil, Juani end up with cuts


Phil Youghusband with cuts on his eyebrow. Photo by Cedelf Tupas

BANGKOK—Juani Guirado showed up for breakfast Sunday wearing a band-aid on his busted lip. Phil Younghusband also had plasters over a couple of cuts at the top of his left eye.

The two players hardly looked like footballers, but boxers fresh out of a prizefight, their valiant effort just falling short Saturday.

Thailand won the war on the pitch, left the Philippines bruised and bloodied and put its hopes of advancing to the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup in peril with a narrow 2-1 victory at Rajamangala Stadium.

The crowd on a rainy Saturday night was not as intimidating as the Azkals had expected with just about 20 percent of the 80,000-seat stadium filled.

On the pitch, though, the cohesive but theatrical Thais were ruthless with their fluid play, quick movement and passing game. They scored two quickfire goals late in the first half to gain enough cushion when the Filipinos tried to mount a fightback.

Paul Mulders pulled a goal back in the 77th minute  but it wasn’t enough as Thailand kept possession in the final minutes and preserved the win that put the hosts on top of Group A.

Vietnam and Myanmar fought to a 1-1 draw in the opening match to notch a point each.

With the loss, the Filipinos have no choice but to win their next game against the Vietnamese, whom they defeated, 2-0, in Hanoi two years ago in the country’s most famous result to date in the 16 years of the tournament.

“We coped well in the first 20 minutes, but we could not sustain it and we lost that game in those five minutes late in the first half,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss. “We lost our rhythm as Phil was going in and out of the game getting treatment.”

The Azkals, who missed Denis Wolf to an ankle injury and Demit Omphroy to illness, were playing one man short for about 10 minutes in the first 20 as Younghusband was treated twice for his injury—first after a clash of heads and second from a flailing arm of a Thai defender.

The Thais were called for only three yellow cards slapped on Teerasil Dangda, Adul Lahsoh and Anucha Kitpongsri. Dangda elbowed Guirado in the 65th that left the Fil-Spanish defender with a busted lip.

Overall, though, the Philippines struggled in its buildup play and offered little attacking threat except for Younghusband racing clear nine minutes into the match only for Chonlatit Jantakam to make a crucial tackle.

It didn’t take long for Thailand to settle into the match and find the goal that lifted the spirits of the home crowd.

Jakkapan Pornsai opened the scoring from close range in the 39th minute after some good linkup play by Dangda and Theerathon Bunmathan on the right flank. The Azkals went 0-2 down two minutes later as Kitpongsri finished off a fine team move from the backline, faking Ray Jonsson and rounding out Azkals keeper Ed Sacapaño.

The Azkals got a foothold on the game in the second half with Weiss bringing in Marwin Angeles and Patrick Reichelt, who continued his good run of form, to replace Phil and James Younghusband.

It was Reichelt who beat his defender on the right and issued the cutback for Mulders to finish with his left foot.

Weiss was later ejected from the touchline by Japanese referee Ryuji Sato after he appeared to have thrown the ball at the fallen Kitpongsri as play was stopped in the 80th minute.

“Obviously it was a disappointing result,” said defender Rob Gier. “We knew it was going to be difficult for the first game playing the hosts and I thought we did really well in the first 20 minutes. But we struggled with our buildup play and played too many long balls.”

“It’s a tough result,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “But this team has been used to adversity and we’re still confident that we can still make it (to the semifinals).”

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  • Juancho Ren David

    I for sure didn’t like Weiss fielding of Angel Guirado (although skillfull and bi)g he was a newcomer to the group who already has team chemistry since the Singapore friendly. The team chemistry was gone when Cagara , Guirado and Lucena were in the line up and all they all do is more long balls than total football plus Jonnsson was put in the right flank instead of his usual left back position. He should trust his local based players in the starting line up who were with him in most of the friendlies and put the european based players who just arrived recently in the bench for substitution. Christaens, Richeilt, de Murga and de Jong should be given green lights to start the game.

    • Rene V

       i agree with yo 100%

  • peteryang47

    Still, it was a much better performance specially the fightback shown by the Philippines team which resulted in the reward of scoring the consolation goal which can prove to be crucial, when compared to another dismay performance by the Malaysian team who was soundly thrashed at home by the Singapore side 0-3 .
    Most of Goals scored were resulted through  mistakes and lapse in concentration as survey by soccer experts, Both the match Thailand vs Philippines and Malaysia vs Singapore, the goals were scored through mistake and lapse in concentration as i had mentioned before that which ever team made least mistake and took their chances well may troop out victorious. Still when Compare the Philippines team and Malaysia team, the Philippines team dished out better performance and played better. Malaysia players seem to have lost their zeal on the game, loss of form and lack of confidence even in some of the disappointing friendlies prior to the Suzuki Cup. At the rate our team dished out their game, we can kiss goodbye  of retaining the Cup at the early stage should no improvement made soon.
    Perhaps We may learnt something from the Malaysia vs Singapore match, Like the Thais, we had home ground advantage, and our players were pacy too but unlike the Thai who as a good play maker we did not such calibre as the Thai playmaker, But Singapore played an intelligence game, they tried to keep possession of the ball more, giving it away little. they played a patient game, work the ball from their back line. keeping their midfield busy with having more of the ball possession.thus the Malaysian players has to fall back to their half to try to retrieve the ball and to defend, The Singaporeans played a tight compact game in their half and back line, as seen each time when the Malaysians has the ball possession, thus limiting the Malaysian players from being able to use speed and pace to much damage. Speed is only effective when the team has good ball control , precise passing and shot on targets while on the run, Speed is only effective and make to look good when given space and room. By playing it tight compact game which limit space n not giving away too much of ball possession to the opponents, you neutralize the opponent from being able to use speed n pace in their game, The Thais showed that they can match your players stride for stride in speed and pace and it is a known fact (besides  the Thais being a much better technically improved team as a result of engaging a well known foreign coach), the Thais trademark brand soccer has always been speed pace and nippy along with swift offensive since the 70’s till date.  I was quite surprised  when Philippines instead tried to play an open game when I did thought that the Philippines team will opt to something similar game plan to what Singapore game plan against Malaysia team which worked effective to Singapore favor. Nevertheless the Philippines team showed great fightback and managed to get a consolation goal despite the  some over aggressive approach the Thais instill into their otherwise entertaining game. There is still hope for the Philippines team, win or lose , every teams are now taking the Philippines team seriously. Malaysia Team?  not unless they lift their game then it will looks like it back to the drawing board, back to the basic training all over again, Keep on playing the beautiful game and God bless

    • Jason Gerona

      the Azkals forward didn’t do something to let the thai fallback a little bit. It was only on the second half that the thai team are trying to defend. because rechielt is doing his job. 

      it is also obvious that azkals dont have chemistry. For the next game, I want those local based players, especially those who joined in several friendlies. come on coach. i know you have seen the development after those friendlies. We just need to trust them.

      • peteryang47

        Thank you Mr Jason if you were to study the video of the match, the first goal, was mistake in lapse in concentration by the defenders, As the Thais played a squared pass from the right flank, the defenders too their eyes off the Thai player  and he moved slightly away from his marker to made himself enough room to connect the ball home. The distance between him and the nearest defender was at least two to three feet, In the box, players need to apply man to man marking, shoulder to shoulder where Italian soccer are renown for, man to man marking. almost identical mistake by the Malaysian defenders as well as the players were only watching the ball and failed to move in swiftly to add as cover when the Goalkeeper fumble his aerial save, It was a free header for the  Singaporean player to nod the rebound home, in the box, defenders are required to keep an eye on both the ball and their man, applying man to man marking , shoulder to shoulder tight marking.The second goal, showed the space and room given to the Thais in the middle of the pitch, ( notice the gap in space when the last pass was played) which allow the Thai to nip in and given the space to accelerate , outpaced and sidestep the last line defence before rounding the Goalkeeper to slam the ball home.If they had played a more tight and compact game specially in the center and in their half they could had restricted the Thais  movements and prevented the second goal, perhaps the second goal wont had been scored, Quite similar again, when Singapore scored the first and third goal.  ample space were gifted to the Singapore team add along with  poor defensive marking and positioning contributed to the Malaysia defeat as well. Modern soccer is, there is no room for error, One mistake made.can cost the team the match. Teams that made less mistake stand better chance. I think the Malaysian coach job is on the line not unless he is able to produce miracles, Malaysia coaching  job is a hot seat, where many had came and gone, both local and foreign coaches, We even had the Frenchman Claude who coached the famous “Roger Milla” Cameroun  world cup finals team, Ron Harris, Frank Lord  just to name a few and the list is  long  Thank you Mr Jason and have a nice week ahead, God bless.

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