The game was supposed to be a showcase for the “strongest Azkals team ever.” In the end, the Philippines had to settle for a disappointing 2-2 draw against Indonesia at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Tuesday.
The Philippines took to the field almost eighteen months after being denied a home game against Indonesia in the AFF Suzuki Cup in December 2010. Organizers built it up as a revenge match, but if we are to be honest, it was a game between two teams vastly different from the ones we saw two years ago. Both teams have since revamped their line-ups, with the Azkals going into the game as the favorites to finally get a first-ever victory against our Southeast Asian neighbours.
Indonesia opened the scoring at the 58th minute with a superb finish from Patrick Wanggai, only for James Younghusband to level things one minute later. Barely had the dust settled from the action when Merah Putih star Irfan Bachdim restored Indonesia’s lead with a breakaway goal.
In the end, the gallant Azkals were not to be denied their second goal. Phil Younghusband maintained his poise in front of goal as he restored parity for the eventual 2-2 final score.
It is a testament to the increasing awareness of our footballing capabilities and the rising expectations from our fans that most were dissatisfied with a draw against the current Suzuki Cup runners-up.
Here are five things we learned from that game:
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