Thursday, 3 February 2011

Azkals nearing top shape

Posted by chardyboy on Thursday, February 03, 2011 0 comments

THE Philippine Azkals national football team is nearing top shape in time for its encounter with Mongolia on Feb. 9 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

National team liaison Patrick Ace Bright said the nationals appear battle-ready as their training reached its second week at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos football grounds.

“They are improving and getting better,” said Bright.

The Azkals, who will have a complete roster when goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and Jason de Jong arrive on Feb. 6, were held to a 4-4 draw in a tune-up match against an All-Star selection from Negros Occidental last Feb. 1 at the Panaad stadium.

But national coach Hans Michael Weiss of Germany has yet to announce the final composition of the team, with the 25-man roster to be trimmed down next week. By then, Weiss is expected to name who will make it to the team.

The Azkals will play another tuneup match today against the Philippine Christian University-Iloilo selection, a team reinforced by Korean students.

In their game against the All-Stars, Phil Younghusband scored the two goals for the Azkals – an icebreaker in the 6th minute and a second goal in the 19th, according to accounts published in several Visayan dailies.
Ricardo Bicete scored the Azkals’ second goal in the 10th minute.

The Azkals led, 3-0, before University of St. La Salle skipper Aldrin Dolino scored Negros’ first goal in the 35th minute. The Azkals then took a 4-1 lead on team captain Aly Borromeo’s kick in the 43rd minute off a feed from Younghusband from the corner.

The All Stars, who were handled by former national coach Norman Fegidero, went all out in the second half, with Dolino booting in a second goal to cut the lead to 2-4.

Striker Jaime Poderoso of West Negros University capped the All-Stars’ comeback with two successive goals in the 83rd and 89th minutes to tie the match at the end of the contest.

Bright said the Azkals will continue their training at the UNO-R grounds on Feb. 10.


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