PH top strikers respond when needed mostBy Cedelf P. Tupas |Philippine Daily Inquirer
BANGKOK—Under pressure to deliver, Phil Younghusband picked the right time to dispel the doubts on his abilities. Criticized for relying too much on his individual skills, Angel Guirado combined brilliantly with his teammates.
With its two strikers in the groove, the Philippines blanked Myanmar, 2-0, Friday night to reach the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup here.
Younghusband had endured a couple of tough outings at the start of the tournament. But with the Azkals needing a goal to pull them through, Younghusband had the perfect response with his 47th minute strike, giving the Azkals the edge they needed to stave off the Myanmar challenge.
“I felt the pressure and I was always thinking just get one goal,” said Younghusband. “At the end of the day, if I’m not producing, everyone has every right to ask questions.”
Younghusband admitted struggling in the last two games, particularly against Thailand where he sustained a cut above his eye because of an accidental clash of heads. He also slipped at the final moment on what looked like a clear-cut chance against Vietnam in the first half. Having been subbed off early in the first two games, Younghusband also said it meant a lot playing the entire 90 minutes against Myanmar.
Guirado wrapped up the win with a left-footed strike in stoppage time, but it was his drive and energy as well as his vision up front that caught the eye of coach Michael Weiss.
“Angel has always been a threat and he played more for the team and did not rely too much in his dribbling efforts,” said Weiss.
Guirado had changed the game against Vietnam by coming in as a substitute late in the second half. It was no different against Myanmar when he came in for Denis Wolf in the 35th minute.
“Angel is an animal on the field,” said his older brother, Juani Guirado. “When Angel is on the field, its different. He is always a threat.”