Defending champion Philippine Azkals bowed to last year's runner up Chinese Taipei, 2-1, in the opening match of the 2 nd Philippine Football Peace Cup at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City.
Displaying cohesiveness in their play, the Taiwanese squad beat the Azkals with Mao Li and Chang-Lun Lin scoring in the 16 th and 65 th minute.
James Younghusband scored the Azkals' lone marker during the 2-minute extension of the first half.
Coach Kuie-Jen Chen of Taipei attributed the win to their teamwork and to their players' determination to capture the championship next year.
He said their goal in the tournament is to win the title and after hurdling the first step last night, they are now moving towards the second step – beating Pakistan in their match-up set at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Panaad Stadium.
Playing against the host Philippine team yesterday, Chen said they discussed their play beforehand and made certain adjustments knowing how tough the defending champions are.
Having a young team, with the average age of their players at 20 years old, the Taiwanese coach said he made sure that every man inside the pitch work hard in the execution of their set plays.
Chen also said they won because of their good teamwork.
Match records show that the Azkals had 16 shots and 9 on-targets against Taipei's 5 and 2. The Filipinos were also awarded 10 corner kick against the Chinese team's 3.
The Azkals failed to stop the Chinese Taipei despite fielding a strong line-up and having main keeper Etheridge manning the goal.
A couple of Angel Guirado's close attempts in the goal area were thwarted by Taipei's defense as goalkeeper Wei-Chih Pan performed great saves.
Several crispy passes from Stephan Schrock were also intercepted as the Chinese team strengthened their defense anticipating the Azkals' to attack more aggressively after falling behind 1-2 in the second half.
Against the Pakistan tomorrow, coach Chen said the crowd at the Panaad Stadium can expect another exciting match as both teams have young players in the lineup.*NAB
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