By JONAS TERRADO
Game Tuesday (Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City)
7 p.m. Philippines vs Guam
Phil Younghusband came off from a rare benching to score an equalizer in the 84th minute as the Azkals prevented the visiting Indonesians from nailing a win.
Though the Filipinos failed to defeat their opponents for the first time ever, it was the first tie since a 1-all draw in the 1977 Southeast Asian Games at the historic Merdaka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Azkals drew anew in the second of their two-week, threematch schedule. Their first came on Friday when they settle for a scoreless tie with AFF Suzuki Cup champion Malaysia in Selangor.
Despite losing Chieffy Caligdong and Manny Ott to red cards in the second half, the hosts managed to level with the Indonesian team comprised mostly of players 25 years and under.
“They fought back from having nine men down by managing to get a draw,“ said coach Michael Weiss. “We had good chances to score further but overall I think we can live with it.“
Indonesia struck first on a goal by winger Patrick Wanggai in the 58th minute but James Younghusband, who like his brother was benched in the first half, tied the count in a matter of seconds.
But pretty boy Irfan Bachdim scored in the 61st minute as Indonesia took a 2-1 lead to the delight of a small but rowdy group of compatriots that attended the match. Irfan was likewise tossed for a red card after an altercation with Caligdong and Ott.
Indonesia, a team completely different from the one the Azkals faced in the semifinals of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, failed to protect its lead in the end.
“We are a new team. We’ve been together for a while but I think from what we saw we can live with the draw,“ said Irfan.
Weiss made a surprise move minutes before kickoff when he decided to bench ace goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and the Younghusband brothers in a move to “test several options for future games.“
Fil-German Roland Muller started for the Azkals while the inserting the likes of Marwin Angeles, Paul Mulders and Carli de Murga in the starting 11.