September 10, 2012 at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientianne, Laos, for the Azkals’ EXHIBITION or PRACTICE Game against the Laos Thim Xad: Laos wins over the Azkals, 2-1.
Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Neil Etheridge; Defenders – Jeffrey Christaens, Carli De Murga, Jason Sabio, Rob Gier; Midfielders – Patrick Reichelt, Marwin Angeles, Stephan Schrock, Chieffy Caligdong; Forwards – Denis Wolf, Paul Mulders
Substitutes: Misagh Bahadoran, Anto Gonzalez, Ian Araneta
We lost to a team 50 places lower than us. Like Cambodia, Laos hasn’t played in a FIFA “A” game in over a year, and yet instead of dominating this game as expected, we ended up with a loss. It can’t be any worst than that. In fairness, Laos did play well in the game, they were very active and fast. It just seemed like the Laotians were playing with a little bit more conviction than the Singaporeans.
We had a lot of chances, but so did the Laotians. To our Defensive Backline’s credit, all of Laos’ goals were off Penalty Shots, they did not concede a goal coming from active play. Our chances were all weak, with none of them really testing the goalkeeper. We did manage to score a goal, but it was really more of luck, and came late in the game: Jason Sabio threw what looked like a Foul Throw, and while everyone was contesting that throw, the ball landed in Gier’s feet which he then managed to slot home.
Officiating was shitty, but that’s what you can expect when playing in an Away game. The Referees could’ve controlled the game better when the Laotians started playing a more Physical game in the second half, and they also could’ve given the game more extra time due to the altercation, but in the end if we were really dominant we could’ve just risen above all these and blown this team off the pitch. But we didn’t, and instead, we lost.
And oh, yes, there was a fight among the players. The Laotians started playing a more physical game in the second half, and the Azkals were starting to get frustrated about their inability to dominate the “lowly” Laotian team. And that frustration boiled over on one physical play. Nothing serious happened, though. Not all out punching and kicking brawls, just a lot of pushing, and some chasing, similar to what happened in the Indonesia game. I expect some Azkals to end up with suspensions in the next games.
Stephan Schrock was his usual dominant self in terms of ballhandling, but his passing this time was mostly off. I think its probably because he didn’t have as good a target as he had in the game against Singapore in Phil Younghusband. The Schrock-PYH combination was fantastic, but you take Phil out, and Schrock is suddenly not as impressive anymore.