Azkals bounce back with three-goal romp of Guam in World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers

Published June 12, 2021, 1:04 AM

by Jonas Terrado

Angel Guirado, left, celebrates with Mike Ott after scoring the opening goal in the Philippine Azkals’ 3-0 win over Guam in the World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers in Sharjah, UAE. (Photo from Philippine Azkals)

Game Tuesday
(Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
10 p.m. — Philippines vs Maldives

The Philippine Azkals confirmed their place in the next round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers after rolling to a 3-0 victory over Guam Friday, June 11 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Veterans Angel Guirado and Mark Hartmann found the back of the net as the Azkals bounced back from a 2-0 loss to China last Tuesday to assure a third place finish in Group A of the joint qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup.

But the Azkals had to wait until Maldives’ 5-0 loss to China later in the day to secure a spot in the next phase of the qualifiers for the Asian Cup.

The Azkals improved to 10 points, four up on Maldives going into the two clubs’ match on Tuesday, June 15.

Despite getting the full three points, Azkals team captain Stephan Schrock was seen giving his team a mouthful, an obvious sign that their performance left plenty to be desired.

“In my perspective, I told the players that we’re happy with the result but we’re dissatisfied with the performance because I know we can do better than that,” said Azkals coach Scott Cooper.

“Against China, we showed organization and discipline, but in this game we showed moments where we can attack but I think we didn’t have enough continuity in our game while we possessed (the ball) more,” added Cooper.

Guirado produced his 11th international goal when defender Jefferson Tabinas created a counterattack with a long ball for midfielder Oliver Bias, who sent a low cross to the 36-year-old striker for the finish.

They doubled their lead on an own goal by Guam’s Marcus Lopez in the 61st minute after a free kick by Manny Ott, who started after missing the previous game due to his late addition to the squad.

The goal was initially awarded to substitute Mark Winhoffer, who had come on two minutes earlier but a review showed that the ball hit Lopez before bouncing past the goal line.

Hartmann settled the final count two minutes before stoppage time with a free kick from the left flank, his first goal since scoring in the Azkals’ 3-0 friendly win over Nepal on Oct. 31, 2014.