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A taste of sweet victory for Philippine Azkals

source: By Dennis Gasgonia and Barry Viloria,

MANILA, Philippines – Friday’s game was such a sweet victory for the Philippine Azkals who crashed into the 2012 Challenge Cup tournament finals by mangling the Bangladesh Bengal Tigers, 3-0.

Filipino booters traversed an arduous path toward the tournament proper, even surviving a series of earthquakes along the way.

After coming off two straight draws against Palestine and group stage host Myanmar, the Azkals were desperate for a win against Bangladesh.

The team played its cards right, surprising the Bengal Tigers with a relentless offense en route to a spectacular 3-0 victory.

Filipino-Spanish Angel Aldeguer Guirado played hero for the Azkals in that game, scoring 2 goals.

The Filipinos also received a great boost from Ian Araneta who struck the first goal during the first half.

The Azkals finished 2nd in the Group A bracket with a total of 5 points on 1 win and 2 draws, good enough for a trip to the 8-team Challenge Cup finals.

Good feeling
After their victory over Bangladesh, the Azkals expressed their gratitude to their adoring fans who closely followed their group stage games.

“Great win, good feeling, priceless!!! Thank you all for the support, couldn't have done it without you guys!” tweeted Azkals player Anton del Rosario.

“Heya all! Thank you for your support! Massive win! The team played well! Celebrations!” said goalkeeper Neil Etheridge through his Twitter page.

For Azkal Jason Sabio, it was a mission accomplished despite the criticisms coming from those who didn’t believe in them.

“Job done! AFC Challenge Cup here we come! We played amazing today. To the haters, that is how you man up! :) We are one We are Azkals! Boom,” tweeted Sabio.

“On to the final 8.. What a sweet victory! History in the books once more!! Thank you everyone for your undying support! :),” said team captain Aly Borromeo through his Twitter page.

Phil celebrates win
Azkals midfielder Phil Younghusband, who missed the group stage because of an injury, cheered his team for making history.

"Congratulations to the team for making history. They deserve this for all their hard work and even through difficult circumstances, we have shown the strength of a Filipino," he told

Younghusband, whose brother James was a vital cog in the group stage matches, said he was initially worried with the team going through a do-or-die match.

"I was watching the updates through ANC and Twitter and I was obviously nervous before the game," he said.

However, he said that his nervousness turned into glee as the Azkals finished the match with 3 goals.

"But each time a goal was scored. I was celebrating... I am so so happy and proud of the team," he continued.

World Cup
Meanwhile, Younghusband said he is excited for the team’s upcoming games in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The Azkals will play against a still unnamed team this coming June.
"I am looking forward to the World Cup qualifiers," he said.


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the victory of azkal will start the football in Philippines

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