Azkals defeat Indonesia 4-0 to earn Suzuki Cup semis berth
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine national football team outclassed the top ranked Indonesians, 4-0, in a blowout match in the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup to secure a semifinal appearance at My Dinh Stadium in Vietnam on Tuesday, November 25.
After the opening whistle, the Indonesians went on full attack to pound the defense of the Azkals early in the match but the sturdy hands of goalkeeper Patrick Deyto prevented them from converting on their chances.
To reciprocate the action of their foes on the other side, the Azkals sent attacks of their own to the Garuda side of the pitch spearheaded by Patrick Reichelt, who continually made the hands of Indonesian goalkeeper’s Kurnia Meiga Hermansyah busy all throughout the first half.
An attack from the Indonesians caused Juani Guirado to give up a tackle on the attacking Serginho Van Dijk, resulting for the veteran Azkal defender to get injured and urge an early substitution for his team.
Misagh Bahadoran outran his defender during the 15th minute prompting him to be tackled by Firman Utina inside the box causing a penalty kick that was awarded to the Philippines.
Consequently, Phil Younghusband took the penalty and converted the goal that opened the floodgates for the Philippine side.
The Philippines continued to show off their football prowess against the foes in the remaining portions of the opening half by sending a tumultuous number of shots to the Indonesian side.
As the game continued for the second half, Manny Ott trimmed down Indonesia’s chances of coming back as he fired a swift shot from just outside to box to extend the Azkals lead to 2-0.
Time winded down on the match with Indonesia rushing to put a point on their scoreboard but the tough defense of the Azkals was too much for the weak attacks.
To make matters worse for the Garuda side, an infraction inside the box by one of their defenders triggered a free kick to be awarded by the referee.
The quick-thinking P. Younghusband immediately positioned the ball for Martin Steuble, who then immediately struck the ball and inflicted a blind-side blow to their adversaries to give the Azkals a comfortable 3-0 in the dying minutes of the game.
Lastly, Team Skipper and veteran defender Rob Gier, who came into the match as a replacement to the injured Guirado in the early part of regulation, strummed the last note to the team’s rhythmic win after capitalizing on a ricocheting ball to give the Azkals a dominating 4-0 victory.
The Azkals now sit comfortably on top of Group A with 6 points after two impressive wins and will now advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.
The Thomas Dooley-mentored team will have their last tour of duty for the competition’s group stage as they are scheduled to play hosts Vietnam on Friday, November 28. - Rappler.com