After a morning of watching my fellow gooners play football with some of the regulars at the Sunken Garden in UP, my friend and I headed to UMak to watch the Azkals’ exhibition game against the UFL All-stars. Having watched, oh I don’t know, zero live UFL games, I was expecting it to be an easy win for the Azkals, or at the very least, a win.
And this is why I don’t make scoring bets: I was wrong. You will rarely hear me say “I’m glad I’m wrong.” but this time, I really was. The UFL guys gave the national team quite a run, ending in a win for them after a late goal by Izo El-Habbib (who I googled after the match. He’s the league’s top scorer.).
The back four and the GK of UFL impressed me and my friend. Especially the defenders. From what I can recall, the Azkals did not lack in attack, but UFL was solid in the back… most of the time.
The three scorers from the Azkals were Chieffy Caligdong, Simon Greatwich, and Ian Araneta. I keep saying that I support the Azkals because of national pride and all that, but am still not a fan of it like, say, I’m a fan of Real Madrid, Seleção Brasileira and Arsenal. I must admit, I’m becoming quite a fan of Chieffy’s style! You gotta love the way he creates chances for himself and his teammates.
It was a pretty back and forth game actually. And that’s just how I like it when I’m not seriously rooting for either team that’s playing. I probably cheered everytime there was a good goal, whether it was from the Azkals or UFL. Alternately, I felt bad for the keepers everytime somebody scored against them.
I understand that this is a friendly, but since this is their showcase before the WC qualifiers against Sri Lanka, it would be a good boost for morale if the Azkals had won this. On the other hand, I was very delighted to see the previously unknown (to me) football talent here in the Philippines.
Some random shots of questionable quality from the game:
The stands were packed! I’m glad that the football awareness in this country is rising. I mean, never mind that a lot of them were fan girls (and a very loud fan boy). I shouldn’t be too harsh on them — fans are fans — and lest I forget: I started to get into football because of a boy, so there’s hope that like me, they’ll actually learn to love the game for the game and not FTB (for the boys). So, if I start to get obnoxious about the teenager sitting next to me, screeching everytime the ball gets close to either Younghusband (never mind if it’s a bad pass or whatever), can someone remind me of my fangirl beginnings? Like what Dumbledore did to Petunia.. “Remember my last.” Haha.
Anyway, I hope some PHP200 or PHP300 tickets free up for the Phils-Sri Lanka game. I am not ready to shell out 2000 or more in light of my recent extravagant purchases. (I.E. Arsenal vs. Malaysia tickets and a new digicam)