Azkals vs. Pakistan Shaheens, October 15, 2013

October 15, 2013 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, Philippines for the Azkals’ final game in the 2013 Peace Cup, this one against Pakistan: The Azkals win over the Shaheens, 3-1, thereby winning the Peace Cup for the 2nd year in a row.

‘Active Azkals Players’
(Goalkeeper) – Neil Etheridge
(Defenders) – Rob Gier, Jeffrey Christiaens, Juani Guirado, Jerry Barbaso
(Midfielders) – Chris Greatwich, Jerry Lucena, Misagh Bahadoran, James Younghusband
(Forwards) – Stephan Schrock, Patrick Reichelt
(Substitutes) – Anghel Guirado, OJ Porteria, Mark Hartmann, Phil Younghusband

‘Game Summary’
Pakistan showed some nifty passing plays, with one eventually resulting in the opening goal. Somebody from the right flicks a pass to the middle, who after 1 or 2 touches then makes a thru ball thru several defenders leaving the receiving player only to deal with Jerry Barbaso and Neil Etheridge. A fake to the left, switched to right and a volley resulting in the goal.
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Azkals vs. Taiwan, October 11, 2013

October 11, 2013 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, Philippines for the Azkals’ first game in the 2013 Peace Cup, this one against Taiwan: The Azkals lose to Taiwan, 2-1.

‘Active Azkals Players’
(Goalkeeper) – Neil Etheridge
(Defenders) – Rob Gier, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason De Jong, Jerry Barbaso
(Midfielders) – Chris Greatwich, Jerry Lucena, Stephan Schrock, James Younghusband
(Forwards) – Anghel Guirado, OJ Porteria
(Substitutes) – Patrick Reichelt, Chieffy Caligdong, Misagh Bahadoran, Mark Hartmann

‘Game Summary’
The first half ended with a score tied at 1-all, but it did not really reflect the actual performance of the teams on the Pitch. The Azkals vastly dominated the game in terms of possession and crosses into the box resulting in shots that forced the Taiwanese goalkeeper to save/deflect them at the last moment 4-5 times. The opening goal scored by Taiwan looked very much like it was OFFSIDE, and the Linesman who refused to call it should be kicked in the balls for allowing such travesty to happen right on the Azkals’ home turf.
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Azkals vs. Hong Kong, June 4, 2013

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.
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United Football League Roundup – June 3, 2013

Here are the current standings in the United Football League (UFL) as of Monday, June 3, 2013:
UFL Standings_cr

Also below is my “Crystal Ball”, which shows the calculated minimum and maximum points the teams can score based on their remaining games. These also predict statistically the possible places the teams can make.
Crystal Ball_cr

‘League Leaders’
After the Loyola Meralco Spark’s Draw with Green Archers United this week, the statistically bow out of the title race as it mean they could not catch up with Stallions even if they win all of their remaining games, and Stallions lose there.

About the only good news for Loyola is that they are at least assured of 3rd place as none of the other teams below the top 3 can catch up with them anymore. They also still have a chance for a Draw with Global for 2nd place.

Global’s win over Stallions this week meant that they effectively pulled out Stallions’ leg out of the door for the league title, and at put in their own leg into that door. With that defeat, Stallions can only score a maximum of 48 points in their remaining games, while Global can win a maximum of 49 points in their remaining games.
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United Football League Roundup – May 27, 2013

Here are the current standings in the United Football League (UFL) as of Monday, May 27, 2013:
ufl standings_cr

‘League Leaders’
With their unexpected Draw with Nomads FC and Stallion’s win over Pachanga last week, the third-place Loyola Meralco Spark’s title chances are still hanging by a thread as, statistically, if they win all their remaining games and Stallions and Global lost theirs, they can still tie with Stallions and hope to win by Goal Difference.

Stallions FC has now one foot inside the door as far as the title race is concerned as the maximum points that Global FC can win in their remaining 4 games is only 49 points, while Stallions can possibly score more with their remaining games at 51 possible points. The Stallions-Global game on Tuesday is important as it will be Global’s last chance to upend Stallions this season. If they lose, then Stallions will extend their lead over Global even more.

‘Middle of the Pack’
Kaya overtakes Pachanga Dilliman in 4th place after winning their last 2 games, but that lead is precarious as they are only a win ahead of Pachanga. Pachanga, on the other hand, has lost their last 2 games.

Another team moving up is the Green Archers United FC, who is having a strong finish by winning their last 2 games. They have overtaken PSG FC, who faltered after losing to the Archers 3-0. Another marginal lead by the Archers who are only a win away from Pachanga.
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United Football League Roundup – May 20, 2013

Here are the current standings in the United Football League (UFL) as of Monday, May 20, 2013:
UFL_cr

‘League Leaders’
Major shakeup among the top 3 teams vying for the crown as Loyola Meralco Sparks FC (LMSFC) is the first to falter when it lost to Kaya FC. Kaya is already out of the race for the league title and is now just playing the spoiler for the top 3 teams.

With that loss, Stallions FC get a comfortable 7-point or at least 3-win lead over LMSFC. Global is 5-points or 2-wins behind Stallions but has the advantage of having slightly more games to play than Stallions or LMSFC due to their participation in the AFC President’s Cup which caused them to have a short layoff from the United Football League (UFL) games.

Only 4 games left for LMSFC and Stallions, and only 5 games left for Global FC until the end of the season, hence these last 4-5 games are very important for these top 3 teams.

Goal Difference remains tight for these 3 teams, with only 4 goals separating the best from the worst of these 3. If this keeps up, then aside from wins, Global and LMSFC still has a shot of winning the title thru this if all top 3 teams end up in a tie in terms of points.
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Global FC vs. Dordoi Bishek FC, May 12, 2013

May 12, 2013, Sunday at the CCSC Stadium in Cebu, Philippines for the Global FC’s 3rd and final game in the 2013 AFC President’s Cup qualifying tournament. Dordoi Bishek routs Global, 6-1

Active Azkals Players:
(Goalkeeper) – Moussa Sanogo
(Defenders) – Jason De Jong, Juani Guirado, Carli De Murga, Jerry Barbaso
(Midfielders) – Marwin Angeles, Jeffrey Christiaens, Patrick Reichelt, Ben Starosta
(Forwards) – Joshua Beloya, Misagh Bahadoran
(Substitutes) – Nino Ochotorena, Ed Sacapano, Aaron Altiche

‘Game Summary’
The game was not telecast live by Studio 23, the channel who could afford to cover live minor collegiate Basketball tournaments like the 2013 Fil-Oil Pre-Season Tournament, but not major INTERNATIONAL Football tournaments like the AFC President’s Cup. Hence, fans like me have had to rely on tweetcasts from various sources like Global FC, Filipino Football and Soccer Central to follow the game.

Anyway, the game started well for Global when Carli De Murga scored the opening goal in the 9th minute, but Dordoi equalizes a mere 5 minutes later off a reported defensive error by Global. Dordoi pulls ahead with their 2nd goal in the 25th minute off a Penalty Kick. More bad news for Global, though, when Patrick Reichelt went down with an injury and had to be substituted off the Pitch by Nino Ochotorena. The score remained at 2-1 at the end of the first half.

Dordoi extended their lead when they scored their 3rd goal in the 55th minute off a Free Kick, after which Reid has had enough and pulled out Starting Goalkeeper Moussa Sanogo in favor of Ed Sacapano. Ed turned out to be no better when he conceded his first goal just 4 minutes later, and went on to concede two more goals in the 77th minute and in injury time for the final score of 6-1 in favor of Dordoi Bishek.
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