My Azkals 2012 Peace Cup Stint Reflections

‘Stats and Awards’
The Azkals wins all of its three games in the tournament, in the process scoring nine goals in three games, averaging an impressive three goals per game. They also only conceded only one goal, and saved one penalty shot in the three games.

In terms of awards, the Azkals sweep all of the individual and team awards, with Jeff Christaens wins “Best Defender”; Matthew Uy wins “Best Midfielder”; Dennis Wolf winning the “Golden Boot” Award with four goals in the tournament, with his first Hat Trick for the Azkals. He also win the “Most Valuable Player” Award of the tournament. Even Ed Sacapano got in on the act and wins the “Best Goalkeeper” of the tournament, conceding only one goal in three games, saving a Penalty Shot and having a Clean Sheet in two of the three games he played in. The Azkals as a team also wins the “Fair Play” Award.

The Philippine National Football team wins its first title in 99 years, with our last title having been won in 1913.

‘Team Performance’
This team does seem to play with much better chemistry than the other Azkals teams I have seen before. They sustain their passing game much longer, and can be creative in the final half of the pitch. They simply play with much better teamwork out there on the Pitch. I guess Weiss finally found the combination of players he wanted, meaning those who are technically gifted in various aspects of the game, specifically ballhandling and passing, and one who work well together as a team.

Testament to that teamwork is that different players shone the best each game, at least for me. In the first game, it was Demetrius Omphroy. In the second, it was Dennis Wolf, and finally Anto Gonzales and Matthew Uy in the last game. It seemed the players took turns in shining for the team, resulting in true team effort.
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Azkals vs. Taiwan, September 29, 2012

September 29, 2012 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines for the Azkals’ third and final game in the 2012 Peace Cup against Taiwan: The Azkals win over Taiwan, 3-1.

Starting XI:
(Goalkeeper) – Ed Sacapano
(Defenders) – Jeffrey Christaens, Carli De Murga, Jason De Jong, Matthew Uy
(Midfielders) – Demetrius Omphroy, Anto Gonzales, Patrick Reichelt, Chieffy Caligdong (Forwards) – Denis Wolf, OJ Porteria
(Substitutes) – Lexton Moy, Misagh Bahadoran, Marwin Angeles, Marvin Angeles

‘Game Summary’
The team had a fantastic first half, continuing on their superb play in their last game against Macau in terms of their passing game, and more importantly with their finishing, scoring three goals in that half alone. Taiwan was no pushover, though, they definitely were our toughest opponent in the tournament, we were not able to dominate possession as well as we had in the Macau game.

We had a mediocre second half though, conceding one goal while scoring none, and getting a Penalty Shot which fortunately was saved by Ed Sacapano. Its a good thing that we had a comfortable three goal cushion coming into that half. As for Taiwan, had they not made those two passing errors in their box in the first half that resulted in goals for the Azkals, they would’ve instead tied the game and the momentum would’ve been on their side.

Much of the Azkals momentum I felt was lost in the second half when the game was delayed for eleven minutes due to a Taiwanese official’s insistence on staying on the bench despite being thrown out of the game due to excessive complaining on what he felt should’ve been a Penalty Shot. The Azkals sort of played flat after that, perhaps being gracious hosts and not wanting to have any sort of animosity in winning the title.
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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.
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Azkals vs. Guam, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines for the Azkals’ first game in the 2012 Peace Cup against the Guam: The Azkals win over Guam, 1-0.

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

Substitutes: Matthew Uy, Jason Sabio, Lexton Moy, OJ Porteria, Patrick Reichelt, Marvin Angeles

‘Game Summary’
We beat this team by three goals last June 2012 in Panaad, but in this game, the two players who scored those goals, Phil Younghusband and Anghel Guirado, are not around anymore on the team. The result? 19 Shots on Goal the entire game, 10 of them on Target, and yet only one goal to show for it.

One important thing to remember is that against stronger teams, we will not be able to make as many shots on goal as we did on this game, hence a lot of opportunity was lost in piling up those goals. Worst, if it means we need to take that many shots just to score one goal, then we won’t be able to score if we don’t take that many shots.

The Azkals dominated possession and everything else, although to be fair Guam, like the last game again went down fighting. They did have a couple of good attempts, especially during counter-attacks, but credit Ed Sacapano for making a couple of great saves.

Weiss to his credit used all of his substitutes, allowing more Azkals to show their wares at home. Also, since this tournament means playing three games in five days, it is critical to pace your players as much as possible, and he made the right call this time.

‘Azkals Individual Performances’
The relative weakness of this Guam team made a lot of the Azkals look very good out there on Pitch, so I think I will just write about the ones that shone the most.
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