Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Caligdong's two goals lift PHL Azkals past Macau in 2011 Long Teng Cup (video)

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, October 05, 2011 0 comments


Chieffy Caligdong scored twice in the game to lead the Philippine Azkals to a 2-0 win over Macau Tuesday in the 2011 Long Teng Cup at the Kaohsiung National Stadium in Taiwan.

Caligdong scored in the 56th minute to break a scoreless tie and added the insurance goal in the 87th minute for the Azkals, who finished with five points behind one win and two draws.

Caligdong, rested due to injury, came on as a substitute after the goalless draw at halftime and inspired the Azkals to the two-goal victory.

The Azkals needed his creativity to break the deadlock and the man from Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo did not disappoint and quickly went to work two minutes into the second half with his shot attempt, after a trademark dribble and cutting from the wing, hitting the post.

Caligdong, left unmarked, opened the scoring in the 58th minute. Mark Hartmann delivered a quality free-kick which the 29-year-old Philippine Air Force FC member tried to convert into the Azkals' first goal.

Caligdong's first attempt hit the goalkeeper before scoring on the rebound.

It took until the 87th minute for him to double his tally and the Azkals' lead with Hartmann again the origin of the play. Caligdong took Hartman's pass off his chest before drilling past the despairing goalkeeper.

He could have had a hat-trick in injury time when Phil Younghusband played in the left winger who blazed over from only a few yards out with the ball bouncing up cruelly. Caligdong's two goals took him clear at the top of the leading scorers in the Long Teng Cup.

Starting strong but failing to break the deadlock

The Azkals dominated the first half and Ian Araneta had the best chance of scoring. The shot attempt of last year's Long Teng Cup top goal scorer looked destined to for the bottom corner until Macau's Ho Man Fai dived to tip the ball round the post.

In the first half, Araneta looked isolated up front and while Phil Younghusband did well to drift wide, beat his man and put the cross in only the 29-year-old forward was in the box to get on the end of it.

Araneta, battling both center-backs, rarely threatened to score in the air. Macau, meanwhile, only had 29 percent of the first half possession but their best chance came when Leong Ka Hang was sent through on the counter and shot first time against the bar.

With Hong Kong beating Macau 5-1 and Taiwan winning 3-0 the Philippines came into the half-time break goalless and looking more and more anxious.

Second half

The clear story of the second half, though, was Caligdong's inspirational impact. Played in twice by Hartmann he drilled past the goalkeeper to score both goals in the 2-0 win. Hitting the post immediately after coming on the Air Force winger went on to score twice and become the top scorer of the Long Teng Cup with only the Hong Kong-Taiwan game left to play.

He was both disappointed and amused, however, by his injury time miss; though he can blame the pitch for the cruel bounce from three yards out and with an empty net it would have been fitting for Caligdong to get a hat-trick.

Frustrated in the first half, after wasting several chances, the Azkals played higher and made five substitutions in all, something unprecedented in coach Michael Weiss' management. The team played well together and fashioned 10 shots on target out of 27 attempts, a large number of shots in any competition.

Long Teng Cup standings

The result means the Philippines remain unbeaten in the Long Teng Cup this year with two draws and a win. Designed for teams to pick up FIFA ranking points and prepare for the major competitions, the Long Teng Cup has provided excitement and controversy throughout.

Whether the Philippines finish second or third will depend on the Hong Kong-Taiwan result.
Should the hosts and reigning champions draw Taiwan, the Philippines will finish third on goal difference (goals scored-goals conceded). Should Hong Kong win, however, the hosts will retain the Long Teng Cup while the loser will drop to third and the Philippines finish in second.

What's Next for the Azkals?

Though the Philippines have had a grueling schedule with three games in five days they won't have much time to rest as they fly to Singapore for a friendly on October 7.

Singapore, a Southeast Asian heavyweight, will be a real test for the Azkals, who managed a last minute equalizer to shock the Singaporeans in the 2010 Suzuki Cup. With Stephan Schrock, Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Ray Jonsson and Manny Ott returning to action the Philippines will have its strongest squad ever in the friendly. — JVP, GMA News


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