Azkals blank Guam, 3-0

No Chieffy Caligdong and Manny Ott, no problem for the Philippine Azkals.

There’s Angel Guirado to save the day.

Back in the comforts of football-mad crowd at the Panaad stadium, Guirado, 27, delivered a brace as the Azkals regained their fangs offensively with a convincing 3-0 win over lowly Guam Tuesday night in their FIFA-sanctioned friendly match in Bacolod City.

After drawing with Southeast Asian powerhouses Malaysia (0-0) and Indonesia (2-2), the Azkals leaned on the clinical outing from Guirado, who came up big this time to earn Man of the Match honors.

Inspired by the rocking hometown fans, Guirado quickly showcased his goal-scoring prowess as he found the net with a curling kick in the eighth minute over the outstretched arms of Guamanian goalie Dallas Jaye.

Four minutes later, Carli de Murga got a nifty pass from James Younghusband and slotted home another goal from the right flank that slipped past Jaye and into the far corner.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Guirado used his height advantage to the hilt, drilling in a header off a Dennis Cagara free kick just before the halftime whistle that capped the Azkals’ full domination in the first half.

The Azkals failed to get on the board in the second half in the face of a resolute Guam defense, although striker Denis Wolf had at least three good chances to score from close range. The Guamanians came out more aggressive in the last 45 minutes in search of a goal to make the scoreline more respectable, and although they became more creative in their attack, they couldn’t get too many clear shots on goal.

Coach Hans Michael Weiss used more substitutes in this match, sending in Misagh Bahadoran, Jason De Jong, Anto Gonzales and Jeff Christaens in the second half. It was the first international cap in six years for Gonzales, the coach of the back-to-back UAAP champion UP Men’s Football Team.

The one-sided result is expected to augur well for the Azkals, ranked 149th in the world, 45 rungs higher than the Guamanians, as they gear up for the AFF Suzuki Cup slated this November.

After incurring a red card each in last Thursday’s match against the Indonesians, Caligdong and Ott were forced to sit out against the Guam.


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