Philippines got back on track with a 4-1 win over Guam in Group A of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 at the Guam FA Field yesterday.
Philippines rebounded in style from their 5-2 defeat to Syria on the opening day while it was Guam's second successive loss, having fallen 1-0 to Maldives on Matchday One.
Both teams were looking to get their qualifying campaign back on track after suffering defeats on Matchday One, and the Philippines started strongly with their first glimpse on goal within the first minute with Yrick Gallantes sending a cross into the box but skipper Stephan Schrock could not connect.
Philippines were determined to take the lead, and their persistence paid off in the sixth minute, with Angel Guirado opening the scoring with a fine header, courtesy of Schrock’s cross into the area after the captain latched onto a failed clearance by Jason Cunliffe.
Guirado turned provider in the 12th minute with a perfectly timed through pass that caught the Guam defence off guard, and Patrick Reichelt tapped the ball home to make it 2-0.
Shane Malcolm came closest to finding the back of the net for Guam when he slid in between the Philippines defenders in the 40th minute but failed to keep his left-footed strike on target.
Two minutes before the half-time break, goalkeeper Dallas Jaye’s pass forward was intercepted by Mikel Justin Baas, before a string of passes ended with Mark Hartmann unleashing a shot but much to Guam's relief, the ball struck the bar.
Guam returned into the second half applying more pressure on the Azkals, but Goran Milojevic’s side matched it with intensity of their own and almost extended their lead when Javier Patino connected with Schrock’s cross but the substitute headed straight into the arms of Jaye.
Guam received a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute after Carlos Alberto de Murga fouled Travis Nicklaw in the box, and Marcus Lopez made no mistake from the spot to reduce the deficit.
The joy in the stands only lasted till the 70th minute as Schrock restored the Philippines’ two-goal lead when Guam lost possession near the half-line mark, and the captain made a solo-run to the edge of the box and let loose a right-footed strike into the bottom left corner of the net.
A similar situation in the 80th minute mark saw John Patrick Strauss in a one-on-one with Jaye, and the midfielder beat the custodian with a shot to the bottom right corner of the net to seal an emphatic win.
Guam will travel to Guangzhou on October 10 to face China PR, and the Philippines host the East Asians at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium five days later.*afc.com
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