Azkals vs. Laos, September 10, 2012

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

‘Game Summary’
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.

‘Individual Performances’
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.
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Azkals vs. Chicago Inferno, August 12, 2012

August 15, 2012 at the Joe Bean Stadium in Chicago, USA, for the Azkals Exhibition Game against the Chicago Inferno: The Chicago Inferno beats the Azkals, 3-1.

Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Ed Sacapano; Defenders – Jason De Jong, Carli De Murga, Jason Sabio, Chris Greatwich; Midfielders – Jeffrey Christaens, Misagh Bahadoran, Marwin Angeles, Chieffy Caligdong; Forwards – Denis Wolf, Ian Araneta

Substitutes: Matthew Uy, Demetrius Omphroy, Patrick Reichelt, Marvin Angeles, OJ Porteria
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Azkals vs. U23 Australia, February 16, 2012

February 16, 2012 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The Australian U23 Olyroos beats the Azkals, 1-0.

Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Neil Etheridge; Defenders – Ray Jonsson, Luis Guirado, Carli De Murgia, Jason Sabio; Midfield – Misagh Bahadoran, Jason De Jong, Angel Guirado, Marwin Angeles; Forwards – Ian Araneta, Dennis Wolf.

Substitutes: Ruben Doctora, Joshua Beloya, Lexton Moy

‘First Half Summary’
Pretty disappointing game for the Azkals at the start of the game, we couldn’t maintain possession, almost every time they challenged where the ball was, they were able to disposses us. In turn, we couldn’t disposses them. As a result, they maintained a LOT of the ball possession.

Since we couldn’t hold on to the ball for any good length of time, we couldn’t launch a lot of good attacks. I did sense things start to improve for us starting from the middle of the first half, probably because they started to get tired of maintaining that ball.
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Azkals vs. Al-Ahli, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012 in Doha, Qatar: Azkals beat the Qatari Al-Ahli Club, 3-1. Goal scorers were Phil Younghusband (9′, 53′), Dennis Wolf (45′) for the Azkals, and Ali Solaima Ashiri (57′) for Al-Ahli.

Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Roland Mueller; Backline – Luis Guirado, Ray Jonsson, Jason Sabio, Carli De Murga; Midfield – James Younghusband, Angel Guirado, Marwin Angeles, Jason De Jong; Forward – Phil Younghusband, Dennis Wolf.

Substitutes: Misagh Bahadoran, Ian Araneta, Joshua Beloya, Lexton Moy.
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Azkals vs. U23 Uzbekhs, February 11, 2012

February 11, 2012 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The U23 Uzbekh White Wolves rout the Azkals, 3-0. Goal scorers were Kenja Turayev (12′) and Ivan Nagaev (42′, 55′).

Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Roland Mueller; Backline – Jason Sabio, Luis Guirado, Carli De Murgia, Jason De Jong; Midfield – Marwin Angeles, James Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran, Angel Guirado; Forward – Phil Younghusband, Dennis Wolf

Substitutes: Ruben Doctora, Nestor Margarse, Ian Araneta, Lexton Moy

‘First Half Summary’
We were defending well inside the box most of the time, deflecting off most of those crosses. Some are able to get in, though, which end up as legitimate shots on goal, and some of those in turn eventually end up as scoring opportunities.

I saw some improvement from our Azkals in terms of moving that ball up on offense, I can see we were now doing one-touch passing in strings of 4-6 which allowed us to move forward effectively. Our biggest problem though was what to do with the ball once it reaches the last third of the pitch, on the opponent’s box. That was when our offense started to sputter. Our crosses from the flanks were very, very poor, they never really resulted in a good shot that really threatened the Uzbekhs.
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Icheon Citizen FC Edges the Azkals United on Penalites, 4-2

Azkals United Starting XI: Backline – Rob Gier, Jerry Barbaso, Nestor Magarse, Roel Gener; Midfield – Misagh Bahadoran, Chieffy Caligdong, Angel Guirado, Carli de Murgia; Forward – Ian Araneta, Dennis Wolf

Attendance was pretty good, the Rizal Memorial Stadium was around 75% full. Good public relations opportunity for Kia also to make a big launch for their latest car model.

Third Division in South Korea is definitely nowhere as good as third division in Spain, and this Incheon City FC is not anywhere as good as CF Internaccional de Madrid. They were closer to our level, which made for a pretty exciting match. The Azkals United had some pretty good ballhandlers on the pitch, and between Chieffy Caligdong, Dennis Wolf, Misagh Bahadoran, and Angel Guirado, we controlled majority possession of the ball. It looked to be easily 60-40% ball possession in our favor.
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