Azkals vs. Macau, September 27, 2012

September 27, 2012 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines for the Azkals’ second game in the 2012 Peace Cup against Macau: The Azkals massacre Macau, 5-0.

Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Ed Sacapano; Defenders – Jeffrey Christaens, Carli De Murga, Jason De Jong, Matthew Uy; Midfielders – Demetrius Omphroy, Marwin Angeles, Patrick Reichelt, Chieffy Caligdong; Forwards – Denis Wolf, Ian Araneta

Substitutes: Jason Sabio, Misagh Bahadoran, Lexton Moy, OJ Porteria, Marvin Angeles, Nestor Margarse

‘Game Summary’
Macau was a big, big disappointment in this game. After scoring two goals and drawing against Taiwan, one would think they would be able to give us better competition, but they didn’t. They couldn’t hold on to the ball for long, the Azkals around them were able to take possession away from them easily.

As a result, they could not mount an effective build up play, and relied almost exclusively on counter-attacks using long balls. They didn’t have the pace, or the accurate passes to be able to threaten us much, though. The Macau players were mostly short and thin and looking very young, like High School players, and they played like one.

Much like the game against Guam, the ineffectiveness made the Azkals look very good out there on the pitch, most especially the young players like Dennis Omphroy, Patrick Reichelt, Marwin Angeles and OJ Porteria. Their skill, speed and teamwork thoroughly routed Macau on the Pitch.

However, unlike the Guam game, the Azkals this time had much, much better finishing. Against Guam, the Azkals only had one goal to show for in 19 Shots on Target. On this game, they scored FIVE on only 17 Shots on Target.

True, Macau played shitty, but a convincing win is a convincing win, especially against a team which I thought would be better.

‘Individual Performances’
Dennis Wolf deserves to be man of the match, not only because he scored a Hat Trick for the first time for the Azkals, but also because he had been moving that ball forward a lot in this game. I haven’t seen him play this well since the Azkals’ Middle East Tour early this year, and one wonders what took him so long to get his form back.

At any rate, it is the same Dennis Wolf of old, with the ability to push the ball in front despite multiple defenders going after him. Also, after seeing him misfire so many times in the past, it is good to see him do what is expected of him as a Striker, and that is to score goals. In this game, he fulfilled that expectation big time.

Demetrius Omphroy continues to impress. We didn’t see any of his flashy one-on-one moves, or those nifty lob passes, but instead we saw something else, we saw a lot of his thru balls coming in from the right side, three of which resulted in goals for the Azkals. His thru balls were very accurate, coming in at just a right time to cause mayhem in the opponent’s box, all of which produced positive results for the team.

He is as accurate as Mulders with those thru balls, and yet he is younger, quicker and faster. Add in his one-on-one skills and those unique lob shots, and you have an ideal Mid Fielder who is so versatile and can do so many things out there on the pitch, instead of doing just one or two things really well.

The other notable performances were Patrick Reichelt who dominated ball possession and made a couple of great, accurate long ball passes; OJ Porteria with his one-on-one skills, and Marwin Angeles who got to show off his stuff, making a back heel pass that resulted in one of Wolf’s goals, and making one-on-one moves to fake off defenders inside the pitch.

‘Parting Shot’
An impressive win by the Azkals, the best one we have had since 2011, eclipsing our 4-0 win over Sri Lanka and Nepal. I certainly did not expect this kind of a rout, I thought Macau would be able to give us a close fight because the presence of imports on their team.

I am tempted to say that we now have a good chance of beating Taiwan, but I don’t want to jinx it. The problem with Football is that sometimes you think it would go one way, only to see it defy logic and go another way. I still expect Taiwan to give us a good fight on Saturday, and hopefully the Azkals can step up and win the tournament.

They are playing at home, without Hong Kong who could’ve been a tougher opponent, so it is our best chance to win a title after 99 years.

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