2 key Azkal players can’t play in semi-finals

James Younghusband, Angel Guirado suspended in the next Azkals game vs Tajikistan.

GOOD SPIRITS. James Younghusband shares a smile with Neil Etheridge as they walk to the pitch before the game. February 29, 2012. Emil Sarmiento.

MANILA, Philippines — It seems that 2 crucial players will not be joining the men’s Philippine football team in their semi-finals game at the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup.

After the Azkals defeated Tajikistan 2-1 in a close, tight match, the team secured a semifinals berth and sent their opponents packing.

But the game also saw two key midfielders receive their second yellow cards.

According to the AFC Challenge Cup rule book, under Section 10, 62.a, “A player who received two (2) cautions (yellow cards) during a stage in the Competition shall automatically be suspended from the Match following the Match in which he received the second caution.”

Midfielder James Younghusband, who assisted Phil Younghusband in his second goal against India, received his second yellow card of the competition after arguing with the referee.

Angel Guirado, who provided the assist to Phil’s first goal against Tajikistan and who scored the winning goal in the do-or-die game, also got his second caution in the same game for aggressive play.

Guriado was, to many, the man of the match after his hustle and dominant performance in the Tajikistan game helped the Azkals maintain ball possession.

Strict rules

It is also written under the same section, 62.h that “a suspended player and/or official shall not be allowed on the substitution bench and technical area.”

Given the rules, Younghusband and Guirado will not see any playing time come Friday, March 16, when the Azkals face Turkmenistan for the semifinals.

In the World Cup, when a player gets 2 yellow cards in the first stage, it does not carry on to the playoffs in the event that their team qualifies.

There are no such exceptions written in the AFC Challenge Cup rule book.

Only those with single yellow cards from the group stage are given a clean slate in the semi-finals according to rule 62.d.

According to the AFC website, those who have received a yellow card in the past games are Jason Sabio, Ray Jonsson, Juan Luis Guirado, Neil Etheridge, Lexton Moy, and Paul Mulders.

Others who may possibly step in for the 2 players are defender Moy, and midfielders Misagh Bahadoran and Marwin Angeles — all of whom have played in the competition but have not started for the team in the last 2 games against India and Tajikistan. 

This is the first time the Azkals have qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup.

The team made history when they made it through to the semi-finals, booting Tajikistan — champions of the tournament in 2006, 1st runner-up in 2008, and 3rd runner-up in 2010. – Rappler.com

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