Chieffy Caligdong leads PH past Vietnam


Caligdong hero for the Azkals again. Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website.

BANGKOK—A Filipino football hero returned to the fore Tuesday night. And his resurfacing couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the Azkals staring at early elimination from the AFF Suzuki Cup, Chieffy Caligdong provided the flash of inspiration in a massive 1-0 victory over Vietnam at Rajamangala Stadium here Tuesday night.

Relegated to a sub after a so-so performance in the 1-2 loss to Thailand, Caligdong struck the game-winner five minutes from time as the Azkals stayed in the hunt for a place in the semifinals.

“I just wanted to give my 100 percent for the team when I was sent in,” Caligdong said in Filipino during a phone interview with TV5’s AKTV Center, which covered the game in Manila.

The rematch against Vietnamese side brought back memories of that cold December night in Hanoi two years ago when the Azkals finally made their presence felt in this tournament with a 2-0 victory over the then defending champions.

History repeated itself here. And while the margin of victory was smaller, the performance was nothing short of heroic.

Displaying a much improved passing game and a more organized defense, the Azkals—with coach Michael Weiss reduced to a spectator in the stands because of a suspension—constantly put the Vietnamese backline under constant pressure with their reward coming in the form of Caligdong’s half-volley that beat Vietnamese keeper Duong Hong Son.

“I’m proud of my team,” said Weiss, whose team moved up to second in the group just behind Thailand, which was scheduled to play Myanmar late last night. “They (Azkals) fought like lions and warriors like they had to do.”

It was a terrific piece of counter-attacking play that led to the goal with Jerry Lucena starting the quick buildup from midfield until the ball found its way to Angel Guirado, whose pinpoint pass to Caligdong gave the Air Force winger time and space to deliver a composed finish.

But the Azkals needed to ride their luck in the final minutes with the solid Ed Sacapano just rescued by the crossbar, which denied an unmarked Le Tan Tai inside the box.

“We can’t celebrate yet, we still have a game to play,” Caligdong told TV5.

More than surpassing their feat in this tournament two years ago, the Azkals are fueled by the desire to give the country what it was deprived of in 2010—a home game in the semifinal stage of this meet.

The Azkals reached the last four two years ago but failed to get the home field advantage they so desperately needed as the country did not have a suitable venue for the match against Indonesia, which eventually prevailed on aggregate scores.

The Philippines next faces Myanmar on Friday, needing a victory to ensure a hassle-free entry to the semifinals.

If the Azkals book their ticket, the Philippines can finally get to host a leg of the semifinals after the Asean Football Federation, through secretary general Dato Sri Paul Mony Samuel, announced that the Rizal Memorial Stadium is good for a home game, subject to “remedial work on the field of play.”

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  • Bengatibo

    Azkals make Philippines proud!!! Chieffy’s goal was superbly executed!!! 

  • dhwayt

    huge win again for us…

    by the way, chieffy’s goal is not half-volley… it’s volley po…

  • BURADOR—Phil. Voice


  • peteryang47

    Discipline in the Philippines players game  won the last night for the team.The players are more composed and focus. Noticed how the players fall back to to add as cover and support whenever  they lose the ball. In doing so they restricted the opponents from able to do much damage, This is what i wanted to see,  players fall back to add as cover each time when they lose possession of the ball. In modern soccer, when the opponents has possession of the ball , the strikers should always act as the first of defence in the middle of the pitch, The Vietnam defence look shaky and it could  had been more than just one lone goal, if the Philippines striker had not slipped  and fell as he was taking a shot, He was given ample space, courtesy of poor marking by Vietnam defence..
    In 2010, when i first saw the Philippines team played the two leg semi final held in Indonesia, I believe  that the Philippines team and Filipinos themselves has the potential to make it in soccer and to become a major force. Many  locals initially did not have the faith to believe then, and this is one of the reasons  why i had decided to post my views in the Philippines net such as in GMA net and Philippines Inquirer net, to give my support to the Sport, the Philippines team and to soccer grass root development in the country, The Filipino who showed me that Filipinos has  the talent and skill to excel in this sport , was Tito, a young lad, who played with our residential team here in my country way back in the early 80″s. He impressed us despite there was no major soccer development in Philippines then. The player who caught my eyes in the 2012 Suzuki cup was Chieffy Caligdong  This man deserves a medal or trophy at least after giving his all for the passion of the sport and the love for his country.. I was happy for him when the team won the Peace Cup.recently. he may had lost some of his speed, and it is understandable as he has reach his 30, (even Ryan Giggs, had also lost  his speed as he aged) and through the injuries he sustained in the games, but there is something  players like Chieffy has which wealth can never buy  and that is his years of experience and knowledge he gained specially having presented the country at Intl level, A rich wealth in knowledge of the game  which he can impart to the younger generation who are aspired to play this beautiful game called soccer/football. Come the next match against Myanmar, as i studied all the matches played so far   through videos, Myanmar is a team in making, after years of political unrest and still in the midst of rebuilding from the ash. Give them few years from now, they might be another new soccer force to be reckon with. As of right now, my prediction on next match between Philippines and Myanmar, I still go for the Philippines win. The ball is always round, and soccer is unpredictable sport, but i take my chances, Its Philippines for me the team to qualify for the Semis, besides Thailand who had already qualified. Honestly nobody paid me to post my views here and I’m not seeking nor am i asking for it either .It’s all due to the passion that i have for soccer, and I believe in doing so, I may at least do the smallest humble contribution in support of the game that may encourage and help Filipinos to believe in themselves through my posts, that they too has equal talent  if not more, to excel in this  beautiful game and besides I have great good Filipino friends in the Philippines who always  encouraged me to post my views., The time has come for me to cease posting my blog here is near  as my mission is almost accomplished . You know, what I read here in the blog are all encouraging compared to two years back, when most of the comments were negative with doubts, But today,you shows faith to believe in your team and your own ability, that you have the talent and can excel in this sport  I’m a very happy man to see more Filipinos are now starting to get involved and  starting to believe they can excel in this sport.
    Until then May God bless each and everyone of you, The Philippines, and always keep playing the beautiful game, Thank you all.

  • Pham Van Vuong

    Congrat Philipine 

  • darsmith

    Thailand won vs. Myanmar 4-0 last night. 

    Scenario 1: In the event of Vietnam win over Thailand on Friday by no more than 1 goal, RP should at least forge a draw against Myanmar to advance to the semifinals.  In this case, Azkals gets the upperhand as a result of its win over Vietnam.  However, the catch is that RP’s goal(s) should be at least -1 of Vietnam’s goal(s) on Friday night. (example RP-Myanmar 1-1, Vietnam-Thailand 2-1, RP advances, goal difference between RP and Vietnam is -1) 

    Scenario 2: Should Vietnam defeat Thailand by at least two goals difference, RP has to win its last elims game against Myanmar to enable Azkals advance to next stage.  Tournament rules dictates that the ranking of the teams are determined as follows

    1. Greater number of points obtained in all the group matches (3 pts for win, 1 pt for draw, 0 for loss);
    2. Goal difference in all the group matches;
    3. Greater number of goals scored in all the group matches.

    RP’s game results against Vietnam will only count in the ranking only after RP and Vietnam are tied on the above mentioned 3 criterias.

  • regd

    It could have been 2-nil had Guirado cross the ball somewhere in the 78 or 80th minute. The last-minute fingertip saved by Sacapano was world class. Do not underestimate Myanmar. When on-from they can beat any asean neighbor. If we win against them, I’ll drown myself with SMB!

    • millie55

       correct! remember, we have never beaten myanmar. friday will be the first time

  • Lemuel Vargas

    And thus they bit the Vietnamese with such force that they were not able to shake the Azkals from their behind..

    Go, go, Azkals!!! Bite those Burmese as hard as your bit those Vietnamese!!!

    And the Azkals battle song:

    Just the refrain of the Baha song “who let the dogs out”

    Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)

    Repeat ad infinitum..

  • Rednaxela VD

    It would be a blast if we get to host the AFF semis

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