THAILAND BEAT PHILIPPINE AZKALS 2-1; WEISS SENT OFF
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 25 Nov 2012
Thailand proved too good for the Philippine Azkals most of the match but had to fend off a furious rally after the Azkals scored their first goal in the 76th minute on a pitch soggy after heavy rains and a previous match in which Myanmar held favored Vietnam to a 1-1 draw.
The three-time champions Thailand raced to the top of the Group A standings with three points and effectively forced the Philippines into a must win situation against either Vietnam on Tuesday or Myanmar on Saturday with no room for another loss.
The Philippines held the Thais scoreless going into the last few minutes before halftime, but two quick goals by Jakkapan Pomsai and Anucha Kitpongsri ruined the Azkals chances although Paul Mulders with a perfect finish to a pass by Patrick Reichelt in the 76th minute fired up the Azkals and their supporters but the Thais resorted to wasting time at every turn to thwart the gallant Filipinos.
The roughness of the Thais which saw striker Phil Younghusband suffer a nasty gash on his left eyebrow which was the result of a head-butt and another nasty knock which re-opened the wound and hampered his vision plus a deliberate elbow on Juani Guirado which cut open his lip and deserved a red card were condoned by the Japanese referee who also allowed a knock on the back of Dennis Cagara's head to go unpunished..
Thailand’s German coach Winfried Schafer said in a post-game interview “Only one mistake tonight we did not shoot for goal number three. I said before the game that Philippines had strong players with good fitness and they gave us problems especially early on.”
Schafer added the “Philippines are a new power in Asean football and it was a good victory for us.”
Philippine coach Michael Weiss said that Thailand deserved the win but he was still confident that his side would progress to the semis. He said “Overall it was a deserved victory.We did not play our best.”
However, when he rung three changes in the second half bringing on Marwin Angeles, Patrick Reichelt and Jeffrey Christiaens the Azkals looked far more cohesive and dangerous in attack.
With Phil Younghusband taken off due to his injury it was left to a battling Angel Guirado to try and take on the Thais almost single-handedly and he did well but resorted to taking hopeful long shots that didn't find the mark.
Weiss who was banished from the touchline after throwing the ball at a Thai player who was on the ground said “I think we needed the game - if we get into a bit of a rhythm I am pretty sure we can reach the next round.”
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