Azkals outclass Cambodia, 8-0
MANILA, Philippines - Off to a smoking start.
The Philippine Azkals showed why they are considered one of the title contenders in the AFC Challenge Cup main tournament in Maldives in 2014 as they thoroughly outclassed Cambodia, 8-0, Sunday night at the rain-soaked Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Phil Younghusband drilled in four goals, striker Javier Patino finished with a brace while Stephan Schrock and Carli de Murga each joined the fray as the Azkals recorded what is easily their most impressive win in recent history.
Younghusband was inarguably the man of the match, erasing whatever doubts regarding his waning quality as the country's number one striker by completing a hat-trick in just nine minutes (25th, 30th and 34th) to put the Philippines ahead, 3-0.
With quality passes and crosses from Carli de Murga and Paul Mulders, the younger Younghusband opened the floodgates for the Azkals, who are determined to send a stern message to Turkmenistan ahead of their match on Tuesday, March 26.
Notable was Younghusband's second goal off a Mulders assist as he curled from the top of the box to the edge of the goal in beating the Cambodian keeper.
New addition Patino also more than lived up to the hype surrounding his arrival, announcing his debut with goals closing the first and opening the second half.
As eventful as the evening was, the lights at the Rizal Memorial Stadium went out just before the first half ended and fortunately for those who braved heavy traffic and rains at the venue, the glitch was fixed immediately.
Stephan Schrock, who played brilliantly all match long, added to the rampage by firing a 46-yard rocket, one that was reminiscent of his miracle goal against Kuwait in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers almost two years ago.
Just as the game was heating up for the national squad, match officials temporarily suspended the match in the 65th minute as heavy rains battered the ran-down stadium and caused puddles to appear on a lot of parts of the pitch.
Play resumed after more than an hour of stoppage, with the Azkals still in total control but were unable to convert on several scoring chances.
Rob Gier was issued a yellow card for a careless tackle before tragedy struck in the 84th minute when Mulders was called for a red card after kicking the ball at a Cambodian booter. And because of the booking, Mulders will be suspended when they take on Turkmenistan.
Younghusband restored order soon after, scoring his fourth goal in the 85th minute before de Murga made it 8-nil for the Azkals with a flying kick off a rebound.
The Philippines will face Turkmenistan in the final match in the Group E qualifiers on Tuesday, March 26, to determine who will take the top spot in the table and will book the ticket to Maldives in 2014. - Rappler.com