KUWAIT CITY (July 24, 2011) - The Kuwait Al-Azraq nailed 3 of their 20 attempts to beat the Philippine Azkals, 3-0, in the first leg of the second round of their World Cup 2014 Qualifying match last night. The Azkals were held scoreless as none of their 7 attempts was converted.
The Philippine Azkals, put on the defensive most of the time, pretty much held their ground until the 17th minute into the hard-fought game when Yousef Nasser nailed the only goal of the first half.
Throughout the match, the Kuwaitis showed excellent defense and enjoyed more ball possessions. The Kuwaitis scored 2 more goals in the second half - by Musaed Neda in the 69th minute and Fahed Al-Ibrahim in the 81st minute.
Azkals' goal keeper Neil Etheridge successfully thwarted the succeeding attempts by the Kuwaitis.
As expected the game was extremely physical. Angel Guirado went down 4 times and had to be carted off the field in the 63rd minute because of leg cramps. Phil Younghusband also went down on the 52nd minute looking hurt.
Near the end of the second half the Azkals looked fatigued. With Aly Borromeo and Stephan Schrock serving their one-game suspensions, Coach Michael Weiss appeared hesitant to make substitution in his starting line-up. Only in the 4 minute extra time did Weiss field in bench players Simon Greatwich and Misagh Bahadoran
Borromeo and Schrock are considered key defenders and with their absence the Azkals back-line showed evident weakness.
The second leg of the Azkals-Al-Azraq series shall take place at the Rizal Football Stadium on July 28. (From philstar.com)