Chieffy Caligdong leads PH past Vietnam

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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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  • bugoybanggers

    Ang galing ninyo mga FOOTBOLISTA. Tanyag kayo sa amin dahil pinag hirapan ninyo iyan. Ang larong Football ang tunay na larong pang LALAKE, di tulad sa BASKETBALL na pang BAKLA, ayaw maarawan kasi masisira ang FACIAL. Kayo mga tunay na mandirigma ng bayan. Ipag patuloy ninyong itaas ang pagkalalake ng mga PILIPINO, sana wag kayong maloko ng mga BAKLA.

    • Ronald_18

      Baklain mo ang mukha mo!

    • Junjunator

      Bakit maraming bakla sa stands?

  • http://www.welive2care.com/ Lead Generation

    Excellent work Azkals! I’m rooting for you to win it all! Make us proud!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E422KEFIWEQBOVJ54ALRSBJB24 JACK

    the Philippine goverment should give its full financial backing to the Azkals, including the bizmen. In this sport, we have a future to make it big internationally, not only in Southeast Asia….unlike basketball.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

      Correct.  Even big private companies and individuals could pitch in to support football to keep its momentum. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/TI55XLCNTWAACFSQMEP3AOSHPA Mita

      Agree.  I just hope that in doing so, politics and greed don’t interfere.

      • bugoybanggers

        Ang wag makialam ang mga taga SHOWBIZZZ. Masisira ang laro nila kapag pinasok ng mga taga SHOWBIZZZ BAKLA! Nangyari na iyan sa BASKETBALL kaya parati tayong kulelat. Naging pampyestahan ng mga BADING ng bayan.

  • regd

    I’m telling you, parang nag-earthquake ang bahay ko! I was jumping from my seat. My sofa would have broken down had my wife not shouted at me to behave! FREAKIN AWESOME!

    One more drawn game and where in the semi’s baby!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6RBGXCSPYTOEUJSROHHZ2IDVEY John

      Same with me.  I was running around the sala when that goal was made. Super sweet win!

    • disqususer22

      same here. then my heart was pounding at the last 8 or so minutes. grabe yung crossbar ng vietnam. 

  • marivon

    Congratulations to the azkals

  • lanzthirteen

    Yan ang Pinoy, never say die!!!

    • http://twitter.com/iAmKakiTindugan yves cyrus tindugan

      Ginebra yun sir

  • Jun Go

    Viva Republika ng Pilipinas!
    Re-pub-li-ka ng Pi-li-pi-nas!
    Re-pub-li-ka ng Pi-li-pi-nas!

    Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2DD56KW6VNCSK6YDZXMNZVPIYQ Rommel

    one more game then semis!

    • GungGung

      one more WON game then semis!

  • http://twitter.com/JuanTamadachij Juan Tamadachij

    Azkals azkals rah rah rah.
    Go team azkals go..

  • AFPako

    Imported lahat ang mga playes ng Azkals, hindi yan tutuong Kayumanggi na soccer team. Halfbreed ….

    • Yxon

      tunay at tubong Pilipino po si Caligdong.

    • leubas

      MABUHAY ANG PILIPINAS….TLAGANG PINAGPAPALA ANG PILIPINAS NGAYONG MGA PANAHON NA ITO.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FKE56ZWNI2XKEVVLZQGRWG7WBI BURADOR—Phil. Voice

      NONESENSE—You tourself is a 3rd breed—————–you JUST DO NOT KNOW your DNA, because of your IGNORANT—-

      • http://twitter.com/iAmKakiTindugan yves cyrus tindugan

        *Ignorance

    • http://twitter.com/elkapitan21 edgar

      line up your chinese players, azkals might be interested.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWUMXMSVRFJPACXLBU7QF6ANNU Roger

       you are full of hatred. get a life!!

    • 18C0501

      Hustuna AFPako; Wa jud kay au dinha; wa ka nasayud sa pamalaod sa maong duwa busa ayaw pataka ug sulti dinha. Nag-paila lang jud ka.!

    • GungGung

      Galit si lolo…

    • regd

      Lahat tayo ay imported! Mga totoong negritoes at katotobo lang ang hinde!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/TI55XLCNTWAACFSQMEP3AOSHPA Mita

      kung imported sila, imported ka rin.  kung galit ka sa kanila, galit ka rin sa sarili mo.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6RBGXCSPYTOEUJSROHHZ2IDVEY John

      ganyan din ba ang opinyon mo sa smart gilas?  kay pingris, norwood, williams?  kay jaworski? kay freddie webb? 

    • dos_sentimos

      Betlog mo kayumanggi??? Mabuhay AZKALS!!!!

    • millie55

       si chieffy anung kulay yun? si angel na nag feed ng bola kay chieffy, half pinoy, nanay nya aldeguer. tubong western visayas.

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