Azkals ease past Guam to get qualifying campaign up and running

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Philippines are up and running in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after cruising to a 4-1 win over Guam at the GFA National Training Center on Tuesday afternoon.

It took the Azkals six minutes to open the scoring after the hosts sloppily lost possession on the edge of their own area.

Pouncing on the loose ball, Stephan Schrock clipped an inch-perfect cross to the back post that was headed home by Angel Guirado for his first international goal since 2017.

Just six minutes later, Philippines doubled their lead and this time it was Guirado who was the provider with a visionary outside-foot pass to dissect the Guam defence, paving the way of Patrick Reichelt to nip in and take the ball past opposition keeper Dallas Jaye to score into the back of an unguarded net.

Nonetheless, Guam – for all their inexperience – were showing plenty of endeavour and deservedly pulled one back in the 67th minute when Marcus Lopez converted a penalty in off the post, after Travis Nicklaw had been barged into by Carli de Murga inside the area.

But, just when it looked like the visitors might be on shaky ground, Schrock came up with a captain’s goal to restore their cushion, embarking on an enterprising run down the left and dancing to the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with a clinical drive.

And with nine minutes remaining, Philippines completed the rout when Matao once again lost possession in a vulnerable area and Mark Hartmann played an incisive pass through to John-Patrick Strauss, who made no mistake in finishing past Dallas Jaye.

Following a opening 5-2 defeat to Syria last Thursday, the Azkals have now picked up their first points in Group A and resume their qualifying campaign on October 15 against another strong opposition in China PR.

GUAM: Dallas Jaye, Dylan Naputi, Travis Nicklaw, Jason Cunliffe, Isiah Lagutang, Ian Mariano (Ryan Quitugua 90+1’), Michael Crowley (Dominic Gadia 81’), Mark Chargualaf (Kyle Halehale 76’), Shane Malcolm, Joseph Ciochetto, Marcus Lopez.

PHILIPPINES: Michael Falkesgaard, John-Patrick Strauss, Carli de Murga, Alvaro Silva, Martin Steuble, Stephan Schrock, Justin Baas (Daisuke Sato 60’), Mark Hartmann, Yrik Galantes (Javier Patino 36’), Patrick Reichelt, Angel Guirado (OJ Porteria 78’).

Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation