The Philippine Football National team Azkals failed to avenge their FIFA World Cup Qualifier tormentor—Al Azraq—Kuwait’s National Football team during their FIFA sanction friendly match in Kuwait Sports Club in Kaifan. The speed and superior ball handling skills was Kuwait’s main weapon to edged Azkal into a 2-1 victory.
Neil Etheridge, Azkal goalkeeper made an excellent saves to deny Kuwait early assault in the 6th, 7th and 22nd minute of the first half. The Filipino fans were on their feet for every successful catch Etheridge did for the Azkals. In the 27th minute Guirado gave up a tackle in the penalty area enabling Bader Al Mutwa for the penalty kick but again Etheridge defended it well.
However, Etheridge good start was short lived when a Kuwaiti striker slip in the first goal to their advantage in the 35th minute of regulations first half that silenced the Filipino fans.
|The silenced Filipino fans after Kuwait’s first goal|
It is very evident that Al Azraq’s game plan was to attack and attack Azkals in the early going that resulted to three unsuccessful attempts, a penalty kick and a goal in the first half alone.
In the second half, Azkals is under pressure to score a goal to equalize the game and be back in the drawing board. Azkals pressed the action and awarded a penalty kick after a handball.
Younghusband took the penalty kick and sunk it in after a helpless Kuwaiti goalkeeper. The Filipino fans gone wild and was up on their feet once again chanting Azkals! Azkals! Azkals!
|Jubilant fans after the penalty kick|
However, the desired draw for the Azkals was again denied by the Kuwaitis when Al Enezi made a penalty kick that was awarded to them in a penalty call that Etheridge failed to defend. The Kuwaitis cruised to a 2-1 victory.
Etheridge tweeted after the game,
“Hard game… But the team played well, another day maybe a better result but overall we did well. Let’s keep improving”.
In my next post I will try to breakdown my observation and assessment of the game and more photos. Stay tuned.