U23 Azkals SEAG Stint: Last Two Disastrous Games

‘U23 Myanmar Massacres the U23 Azkals, 5-0’
Myanmar did not take chances with us this time around. After that miracle win by us over Laos, they made sure of a win by burying us with goals. They had that “overkill” instinct, they kept attacking all throughout the game, and made sure they had an insurmountable margin at the end of the game.

The game actually looked pretty even, its not as if they dominated possession against us and we couldn’t get good shots against them. We did get our fair share of possession and attempts on goal. In the end, though, Myanmar just had a little more class, a little bit more individual and team skill than we do. They were more “polished” with their Football.

However, that polish and maturity is highly suspect. I don’t trust Myanmar because of that dictatorial regime of theirs. They are used to cheating and getting their way, so I won’t be surprised if some of these players are overaged. If they really are a lot better than us, then that would’ve shown in their games against our Senior team. But that has not been the case, they haven’t been winning against the senior Azkals, just drawing a lot.

I think our very young boys (for example, OJ Porteria is only 17 years old) went up against much older opponents, and despite that gad-damn scoreline, they made a good account of themselves in terms of the ball possession and number of shots on goal. They had more fluidity in their game, especially their passing on offense. They just lost because Myanmar had more experienced and mature players. We, on that other hand, lacked that experience and maturity to score that final goal.

Our boys tried to make up for it by playing with a lot of heart, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. On the other hand, Myanmar was able to have more quality chances with their share of attempts.

Manny Ott and Roland Mueller will miss this team’s last game against Brunei. Both are critical players for the U23 Azkals, Ott scoring two goals in the tournament, while Roland has been our best goalkeeper. Despite conceding a lot of goals, he has saved a lot more. I’m not that impressed with his replacement, Paolo Pascual, as he has been unimpressive with Global FC so far. But Brunei is a weak team, judging by their losses and the scoring margin against the other teams, hence hopefully it won’t be much of an issue.

‘U23 Brunei Upsets the U23 Azkals, 2-1’
I actually thought we would win against Brunei to the tune of 5-0. They are from a tiny albeit oil-rich nation, and like us had been losing their previous games. I felt we deserved a break after all those losses, especially after losing big against Myanmar, and that the boys will definitely go all out to win their last game.

We did dominated the game offensively in terms of the number of shots on goal, but the problem was our inability to make that final ball. We took shot after shot after shot, probably no less than thirty shots on goal all throughout the game, but could convert only on one. We were incredibly “inefficient”, and this was personified by OJ Clarino, who took at least five shots in the first half inside the box that would normally have been sure goals.

Somebody should teach that kid that there is such thing as a “feint” in Football, as in feint a kick, then go one way. Or to not hurry his shots, and concentrate of hitting that ball correctly. He’s a decent midfielder, but definitely not a striker, at least not at this point.

I don’t think that Brunei’s defense was exceptional, this team surrendered EIGHT goals against Vietnam, the problem really was with us, with our inability to score goals unless it is handed to us on a silver platter. On an individual level, our players just lacked the skill and talent to score around our opponents defense.

Brunei, on the other hand, did not need to take as many attempts to score those two goals. Just like all of the other South East Asian teams we faced, they were very efficient, having that ability to make good passes on long balls, and beat our defense with their speed and quickness.

With this loss, we ended up last in our division, quite a huge fall for a team that was in the “easier” division, and was expected to land a medal. It was another game, another major disappointment. I was growing numb with all the losses, to a team that got very good support, and yet still managed to go way, way below expectations.

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