June 4, 2013 at the Mong Kok Stadium in Hong Kong, China for the Azkals’ lone International Friendly Match in June: The Azkals win over Hong Kong, 1-0.
Active Azkals Players:
(Goalkeeper) – Neil Etheridge
(Defenders) – Rob Gier, Jeffrey Christiaens, Juani Guirado, Carli De Murga
(Midfielders) – Chris Greatwich, Chieffy Caligdong, James Younghusband, Paul Mulders
(Forwards) – Stephan Schrock, Phil Younghusband
(Substitutes) – Misagh Bahadoran, OJ Porteria, Marwin Angeles, Lexton Moy
‘Game Summary and Overview’
Not a lot of ground game from both teams, both sides basically relied on long balls all throughout the game. Part of this is mainly due to the high press both teams were employing which they could not overcome and thus lost much of their ground passing game. It was part luck, and part skill that we managed to score a goal in the first half: The “Luck” part was when the Cross by Stephan Schrock was deflected by a Hong Kong Defender straight into the direction of James Younghusband; The “Skill” part was how JYH got to the ball ahead of the defender in front of him, and how he was able to place the shot into the far right post when he himself was just beyond the left post. It was an almost unstoppable shot in terms of placement.
In the second half, though, Hong Kong clearly was the better side despite making more substitutions than us. They had a couple of great shots, including a Penalty Kick, and it was just Neil Etheridge’s brilliance that kept the clean sheet for the Azkals. The Azkals did end up with a decent ground game in the 2nd half in some spots, but these were not enough to penetrate through the final third. Most of the Azkals’ chances still relied on hustle by stealing the ball away, or by making individual runs during counterattacks.
‘Hong Kong Team’
Hong Kong showed in this game that they indeed live up to FIFA’s ranking of them as a “Developed Football Country”. FIFA uses that term to describe countries which has lucrative local Football Club Tournaments, good patronage from the local populace and good achievements in international competitions. Part of this was in effect during the game which was very well attended by the home crowd, it was a sea of Red out there in support of their team. They also were chanting non-stop all throughout the game, an indication of true Football fans.