2011 AFC Challenge Cup Pre-Qualifiers: Azkals triumph over Mongolia

What is Neil Etheridge doing???

That’s pretty much what the announcers are saying when they saw the Azkals’ goalie in the middle of the football court as if he is a midfielder.

You can’t blame Etheridge though. Etheridge was extremely, extremely bored. After the Azkals scored their first goal, all the Mongolians did was to defend their goal. They we’re even trying to score as if to say that if they can limit the Azkals to one goal, then it would be easy for them to score a bunch in their home turf. The poor Mongolian goalie was wasted because he was thoroughly defending his goal and it didn’t help that Ian Araneta almost took him out of action.

This is purely accidental as both of them were chasing the ball.

Anyway while the Mongolian goalie is having his “fun”, Etheridge is pleading for TV time and he’s doing it by kicking those long balls a couple of feet outside his post. One time, he caught TV time by almost injuring himself when he stepped on a hole near the field.

Why are there gutters near the soccer field???

Nearing the end of the first half, Emil Caligdong scored a very, VERY, awesome goal where he almost fumbles the ball, saves it, before blasting the ball to the goal in between the Mongolian goalkeeper’s thighs! Caligdong is one of three Philippine Air Force players still playing for the squad. Before that, the Azkals are having a tough time making the referee see that the Mongolians are playing extremely physical. But the ref is also letting go of the antics the Azkals are doing so I can’t really say that the officiating is one-sided.

During the last play of the match, it seems as if that Jason Sabio chickened out of a goal but he crosses the ball nicely to the open Phil Younghusband to score the Azkals’ second goal. This happened during extra time and this gives the Azkals a bit of leverage when they go to Mongolia on March 15.

In front of a roaring, predominantly pro-Azkals crowd (since this is our home turf), Team Philippines wins over Mongolia, 2-0 to give them a boost at the pre-qualifying stages of the AFC Challenge Cup.

One thing the Azkals did right from the get-go was their impressive ball control. This is a total 360 from the last time we saw the Azkals in international action. It seems as if all the support from the fans and the sponsors are paying off nicely. Whenever the Mongolians try to attack, the defenders will always try to stop their run. Rob Gier, Anton del Rosario, Aly Borromeo, and Ray Jonsson forced a lot of miscues while Caligdong, Phil, James Younghusband, Jason de Jong, Simon Greatwich, and Roel Gener made life difficult for their Mongolian counterparts.

While they fielded in more attempts, their scoring must to improve. There were a lot of weak shots kicked to the goal and it seems as if their attempts lack “pektus”. While what Caligdong did was really, really creative, they seriously need to practice their offense. They also need to improve on their spacing because it seems that they are forcing their way inside a clogged lane.

But other than that, the turnout in terms of exposure, gate attendance, and fanfare means that football is here to stay. Before this, the only footgame I watched from start to finish was when the 2004 Red Devils from South Korea performed awesomely in the World Cup.

Now I understand why I like football now.

And that’s because we have a great football team to cheer at! 

Hopefully the Azkals can find a stadium in Manila because it sucks that the Panaad Stadium have all the fun! 

We are very, very happy right now! 

The highest FIFA ranking the team had in a while is 150. We are currently 152.

Let’s see if the Azkals are awesome enough to realize their potential.

Game over!


  1. Do you actually watch real football, hindi yung kwento-kwento lang? You sounded like a noob.

  2. I should actually because football fever in the philippines is barely a year old. i wouldn't even care about football if the azkals aren't playing.

    however i saw the match and i call it as i see it. the match finished when caligdong scored the goal because afterwards the mongolians did whatever they can to stop the azkals from scoring because they have already surrendered this game. there is room for improvement. a very, VERY big room for improvement for the azkals just like my writing.

    in terms of real football, is there a fake football?