natawa talaga ako sa article ni Bob Guererro, premium striker daw si tsippy... hahahaha
Philippines 2, Indonesia 2: Wet and Wild
The great thing about sport is that you never really know what to expect. On a rainy Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, that axiom was proven true.
The Philippines drew Indonesia for only the second time in the history of the fixture. It was an eventful 2-2 that had just about everything.
The first half was innocuous, the most notable part being the curious exclusion of the Younghusbands and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in the starting eleven. The Philippines was the far brighter side in the first 45 minutes, the most dangerous attack being Angel's header off a Jason Sabio long throw that clanged off the crossbar.
There were other chances, like a Guirado three-hopper that tamely went straight to Indonesian keeper Markus Maulana, a Denis Wolf header off another Sabio long throw ballooned over the bar, and a weak shot from Chieffy Caligdong also went straight to the keeper. If not for the industry of centerback Valentino Telauban, he of the leopard-spotted mullet, Indonesia should have been behind at least by a goal.
Indonesia had a legitimate argument for a penalty when Irfan Bachdim was downed by Sabio in the 44th.
After the break Weiss sent on his shock troops, bringing on the Younghusbands, Etheridge, and Jerry Lucena in place of Paul Mulders, Marwin Angeles, Wolf, and Roland Muller.
The second half started where the first half left off, with the Azkals squandering half-chances. Caligdong, who was ragged with his deliveries in the first half, unspooled a glorious cross that Angel Guirado could only nod to the Indonesian goalie.
Then in the 57th minute the Football Gods looked at each other and decided to press the bizarro button. Thus a madcap five minutes unfolded.
Indonesia opened the scoring with a terrific goal. Oktovianus Maniani, who had switched to the right wing, burned a hole in the Rizal Memorial pitch with a searing run off a counterattack, abused the Filipino defender marking him with some deft footwork, (was it Dennis Cagara or Sabio?) then served up an inch-perfect cross to a streaking Patrich Wanggai. The Papuan found the seam in between two defenders, then headed home at an extreme angle. Etheridge had no chance. 1-0.
Filipino retribution was swift. Two minutes later a dreadful error by Satrio Syam gifted the ball cheaply to James Younghusband and he hammered it past Maulana. James said afterwards that he actually read the body shape of the defender and anticipated the pass, which is why he picked it off so easily. 1-1.
Three minutes later the visitors were back in front when Irfan Bachdim latched onto a long pass and after outsprinting the defense, poked the ball through Etheridge, who did his best to narrow the angle. How ironic that Etheridge, who tweeted his disappointment on his non-start, actually would have had nothing to do in the first half anyway had he started. In the second, there was perhaps too much work. 2-1 Indonesia.
Then came an incident, common in football, where testosterone overrides intelligence. The Philippines was awarded a free kick, but Bachdim was holding on to the ball and not letting go. Caligdong tapped him on the arm in an effort to get it. The Indonesian-Dutchman took exception and shoved him, resulting in a bench-clearing fracas. The most incongruous detail of this contretemps was Coach Hans Weiss, with a flourescent bib dangling from his neck, trying to separate the combatants. (4th Official Waling Bermejo asked him to wear it presumably because his navy blue shirt looked too much like the player's shirts.)
Manny Ott, who was having a terrific game, was adjudged to be overzealous in his reaction and was shown a red card along with Caligdong and Bachdim. Ott and Caligdong will miss the Bacolod match, which should sting Chieffy, since no doubt he wanted to play in front of friends and family next Tuesday. The loss of these two midfielders is a blessing to Jeffrey Christaens, the gifted left winger who could step in for Chieffy against Guam, as well as Lexton Moy and Jason De Jong.
Right off the ensuing free kick, down to 9 men, the Azkals showed the grit and character that have allowed them to reach 148th in the world.
Cagara airlifts a perfect free kick into the penalty box. James controls it and ships it to Phil with a short pass. With the cold-blooded calm of a veteran assassin, Phil lays it down to his feet and cavalierly hoofs it into the net past three defenders. 2-2.
The play reminded me of the scene in the animated film Over The Hedge. In that movie Hammy, a hyperactive squirrel who does everything quickly, is given a caffeinated energy drink. It's during a pivotal scene where he has to lay a trap to catch the bad guys. The effect of the drink doesn't make him move faster, but for comedic effect, the film makers instead froze all the other characters, leaving Hammy to leisurely move around and set the trap.
That is how it is with top strikers like Phil and Chieffy. In the heat of the moment the game slows down for them. They don't panic, and they just get the job done.
Soon after Rusdi, the Indonesian defender, got hurt and was dragged off the park. He never got substituted and the game finished nine-on-nine. It was odd to see so much open space everywhere.
The Azkals badly outshot the Indonesians but the visitors were more ruthless with their few chances. It was probably a fair result.
There were a few notable standout performances. Jason Sabio's long throws continued to threaten. James, with a goal and an assist, won Man of the Match honors. Cagara's energetic overlaps gave Indonesia fits. Ott was superb on the ball.
Oktovianus and Bachdim showed that in football, speed is the most important currency. The Azkals will need lightning-fast defenders to go deep in the Suzuki Cup.
Weiss, who isn't always a paragon of diplomacy with a mic in front of him, said all the right things when asked about his starting 11. He explained on air and in the post-match presscon that "we know what they (the Younghusbands) are capable of but we need to have options." He also affirmed Neil's status by saying "Neil is our number one keeper, but we found a nice keeper who can step in." He also added "the players (who were benched) were very professional. Not one single complaint." Weiss also promised his "top team" will start versus the Guamanians.
It was the last Azkals game in Rizal Memorial on grass before an artificial turf is dropped in next month. (A handful of UFL games will take place there.) The groundskeeping crew did a heck of a job transforming a patchy, uneven surface at the Asian Five Nations into a proper greensward. I mentioned them by name in the telecast and I'll mention them again now. Engineer Ike Madamba, Danny Arpon, Gerry Laxamana, Gaspar Ferriera, Peter Collarena, Fernando Sangcap, Ricky Salas, and Jefry Patricio. All supervised by the amazing Bert Honasan. Take a bow.
But as good as the pitch was, I won't miss it. There were still some funny bounces and the scars from the rugby tournament remain. The 22 meter line and try line left deep ridges. An artificial surface will make for wonderful football.
The Indonesian supporters made their presence felt on the south end, but reports of them chanting "hindi kayo Filipino" are a downer. The slur, obviously directed at our mostly overseas-born lineup, is odd coming from a nation that has Indonesian-Dutch players like Bachdim and Diego Michiels. They have also naturalized two players, Uruguayan-born Christian Gonzales and Nigerian Gregory Nwokolo. Neither saw action on Tuesday but both have earned caps.
The atmosphere in the stadium was pretty good, but the non-sellout was disappointing. Perhaps ticket prices need to dive further. I say the green and blue end bleachers need to drop from P150 to P50 and the central white bleachers from P300 to P150. We should strive to sell out every home game.
2-2 against a regional power is a satisfying result. But against minnows Guam, nothing but a big win will suffice.
srsly? tsippy? a premium striker?