Feb 12, 2011

Philippine Azkals could have had a bigger lead against Mongolia

Photo by: Julonz Finch

By now, people all around the archipelago are already buzzing about the win of the Men's National Philippine football team or the Azkals against the lowly mongolian Blue wolves 2-0 in the first leg of the qualifying match of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup.

The game was a smorgasbord of thrill, excitement, joy and at the same time frustration. Although I was restricted outside the stadium and just was satisfied of the wide screen provided outside, the electricity of the crowd inside was infectious. I was very proud of the win but some people thought the 2 - nil advantage seem to be a bit short of what they expected. Even skipper Aly Boromeo was not satisfied with the 2-0 squeeze in his tweet.

Aly Borromeo
Thank you to all the fans out there and the support you been giving us! We'll take the W but should've banged in more! :)

There are a lot of factors that might have led to the slim margin. I personally thought it would have been an easy 4 or 5-0 advantage if not for the missed attempts by Araneta, Greatwich & James Younghusband. Here are some of the reasons why I think they played a little sloppy.

photo by: Liza M. Senina

New Coach, new system
When Michael Weiss entered into the picture, my first reaction was.."why???" McMenemy was doing a great job with the team in the Suzuki Cup stint that went all the way to the semi finals and even beat powerhouse Vietnam 2-0 in the process. 

What can Weiss bring in to the Azkals? I reviewed his experience as a coach and I was blown away. McMenemy was a good coach and really helped the Azklas gel as a team, but Weiss will bring the Philippine Football team to the next level.

Weiss' attacking system will be the missing piece in the defensive minded Azkals to transform them into a team to watch out for in the coming years. Skipper Aly Borromeo mentioned their difficulty with the new system.
“We’re quite unlucky, we had our breaks, our moments to capitalize (on) but we’re just not used to being the team controlling the match. We’re usually the underdogs and it took a while to get the rhythm going,” 
It was obvious in the first half, the team was struggling to set up its offense, until Chieffy made a nutmeg over the quick handed "Mongolie". The second half on the other hand showed the team making short crisp passes and attacking the middle of the box. I saw more goal attempts during that time until the last few minuets where we played sloppy ball again, thanks to Phils' late goal, which  gave the Azkals a little cushion for the next match by aggregate.  

Truly the abrupt change in playing style did play a crucial role in the anemic 2-0 scoreline. 

Home court Jitters
It was 2005 when the Azkals last played in the Panaad stadium, but it was 2008 when they had their Challenge Cup scuffle at Iloilo, but failed to advance to the final qualifiers. During those times the football following then was virtually unheard yet, except in selected places in the country. Not until their recent stint in the 2010 Suzuki cup, when they caught the eye of our "underdog loving" kababayans. 

The recent match with Mongolia was somewhat an eye opener for all the football followers and skeptics in the land. That was why jitters started to seep in the players, because of the intense hype that was created by media and sports fans alike. It showed in the first half of the match when some of the players made lapses in passing and defense. Composure was regained in the 2nd half after the team made the first goal and was able to regrouped and played the type of football we expected.

Mongolian Stance
The Mongolians basically gave us a dose of our own medicine, parking the "bus" on the defensive end and hoping for a draw, before going back to their home turf where they were familiar. With great goal keeping and aggressive "man to man" defense of the strikers they were caught off guard in the first half, not expecting that type of strategy from them. That made the scoring binge a bit harder for the Azkals.

2-0 was a bit of a disappointment, but a Win is a Win. Let's hope they will play a better brand of football when they move to Mongolia on the 15th of March.

Lets keep supporting our Azkals!!

Awoo! Awoo! Awoo!


  1. Its just a start. They just need a couple more games to get fully in-sync with the new system. They will get better as time goes on.

  2. lowly philippines


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...