1. Weiss is still ‘experimenting’
Coach Michael Weiss experimented with his starting eleven, entrusting the young duo of Manny Ott and Marwin Angeles with central midfield roles. Angel Guirado was thrust to the right wing, while Paul Mulders was given free rein just behind striker Dennis Wolf. Roland Mueller, meanwhile, was given his first start at home. For 45 minutes, this resulted in the team having most possession in the ball, but just lacking that cutting edge up front.
At halftime, Weiss tinkered with his personnel again, this time arguably to mixed results. Neil Etheridge took his position between the sticks, but it was the entry of Phil and James Younghusband and Jerry Lucena that gave the Azkals that extra bite in attack.
Weiss justified his player selection. “It is a time to test several formations and several players,” he said, and he has every right to do so. It will be hoped that he will see what everybody else who watched the game saw.
The Ott/Angeles combination in central midfield, while safe and secure, and able to provide an excellent defensive shield, is left wanting in the creativity department. The result is that the team has to rely on the wingers to take on their defenders to create scoring chances.
Guirado in the right wing will certainly not frighten any left-back in the world with his speed. His style is more suited to playing up front. Mulders and Wolf up top were thus reliant on balls delivered from the wings and long balls, rather than balls worked down the middle.
Dennis Cagara delivered that free kick which led to the second Azkal goal, but he was guilty on numerous occasions of carelessly losing the ball. Once he switched to the right wing, Indonesian winger Oktovianus Maniani gave Cagara fits down the Azkals’ left side.
It was down to the old reliables Phil and James Younghusband to save the Azkals’ blushes with two excellently taken goals, proving to everybody that they deserve to be in the national team’s starting eleven when fit. Weiss has admitted for the record that he is “experimenting” with his current group of players in these series of friendlies. The impetus now is to get things right when it matters most, the 2012 Suzuki Cup.