Azkals dominate Laos for first Suzuki Cup win
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine national football team grabbed their first win in the 2014 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup after dominating Laos, 4-1, at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam on Saturday, November 22.
The Azkals dominated possession of the ball right from the get-go, lurking with a flurry of attacks deep in the Laotian territory courtesy of Phil Younghusband.
On the other side, Laos relied on long balls and counter-attacks to negate the aggressive attack of the Azkals, which pounded their defense early in the opening half.
The long passes of the Laotians paid off as veteran defender Juani Guirado was caught with a foul that led to a free kick awarded to the Laos side just outside the Philippines’ penalty.
Khampheng Sayavuth took the free kick and scored the first goal of the match for Laos.
Scrambling to tally a goal, the Philippine offense pushed to put more pressure to the Laotian defense as Jerry Lucena tried his luck by firing a shot of his own but the ball was cleared off the goal line by the opposing defenders.
The Azkals finally broke their goal silence as Manny Ott struck a corner kick that found Simone Rota, who then headed the ball to the back of the net to equalize the score at 1-1 in the 40th minute.
After knocking on Laos’ door on several occasions, the poorly marked P. Younghusband finally etched his name on the scoreboard after receiving a cross from Lucena to give the Azkals a 2-1 lead before the halftime break.
As the game progressed for the second half, a more hungry Laotian side came off the locker rooms as they look to take the lead back from the Azkals.
However, the Azkals refused the give up their lead as substitute Patrick Reichelt, who came in on the 66th minute, capitalized on two assists coming from P. Younghusband to score two goals on the 77th and 89th minutes and bring home the win for the Philippines.
The Azkals will look to continue their winning ways for their second match in the cup as they are touted to face Indonesia on Tuesday, November 25.