Saturday, 2 July 2011

Phil Younghusband cleared for Azkals home leg vs Sri Lanka

Posted by chardyboy on Saturday, July 02, 2011 0 comments

source: By 

MANILA—The “miracle” Philippine striker Phil Younghusband had hoped for happened yesterday.
The country’s top international scorer the past five years has made himself available for the home leg of the Azkals’ first-round World Cup qualifying duel against Sri Lanka at the Rizal Memorial Stadium this Sunday.
His presence thrown into doubt after limping off in the 40th minute in the 1-1 first leg draw in Colombo, Younghusband was cleared by Dr. Randolf Molo, a sports medicine specialist at St. Luke’s, yesterday after an MRI revealed the hamstring injury was not as serious as the striker had earlier feared.
The Sri Lankans scored three minutes after Younghusband’s departure, but his replacement, Filipino-American striker Nate Burkey, headed home the equalizer in the 50th minute for a goal that could prove crucial to the Azkals’ bid.
Away goals are key tiebreakers in home-and-away showdowns and the Azkals can go through to the second round if Sunday’s match ends up a scoreless draw.
If the match ends at 1-1, the two teams will play extra time. If both teams are still tied, the match goes into penalties. Sri Lanka will advance if it wins Sunday’s match or forges draws of 2-2 and up.
The Azkals, though, are not playing for a scoreless draw and want to win big in front of a packed home crowd. All tickets to the match have already sold out.
“I feel better,” said Younghusband, who revealed he is now at “90 to 95 percent” ready for the match.

He added: “I was so gutted before but now I’m just itching to play.”
Younghusband’s absence could have been a further blow for the Azkals, who were already missing reliable leftback Ray Jonsson. Jonsson’s absence forced coach  to play Paul Mulders, an attacking midfielder, at leftback in  Colombo.
Kickoff is set at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow with the winner of the tie advancing to a second round duel with Kuwait in July.


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