Chieffy Caligdong’s 85th minute goal against Vietnam last night did not only seal his place in Philippine football history but proved to the world that the victory in Hanoi two years ago in the same competition, the AFF Suzuki Cup was no fluke.
The Philippines did it again, thanks to Caligdong’s winning shot that boosted the Philippines semifinals hopes in the ongoing tournament in Thailand.
With their backs against the wall following a 2-1 loss against host Thailand in their first game Saturday, the Azkals found the right man to send in at the 74th minute as Caligdong subbed for James Younghusband.
Receiving a pass from Angel Guirado, Caligdong did what he usually does -- send the ball in with a well-targeted shot from the left.
Both Caligdong and Guirado were part of the three-man subs the Azkals sent into the game in the second half after a scoreless first half.
Guirado came in the 55th minute to replace Paul Mulders, Dennis Wolf replaced Phil Younghusband in the 66th, and Caligdong for James Younghusband in the 74th.
Just as praises were heaped on Caligdong’s heroic goal, equally deserving of recognition is Azkals’ goalkeeper Ed Sacapaño, who denied Vietnam all night with several precious saves.
With a minute left in the injury time after 90 minutes of play, Sacapaño saved a close attempt from the Vietnam side as he leapt upward and tapped the ball with his fingertips making it hit the crossbar to frustrate Vietnam.
Earning three points from the win, Philippines is now at No. 2 in Group A, with Thailand eyeing its second win against Myanmar as of press time. The Azkals will play Myanmar next on Nov. 30 at 9 p.m.
In the match against Vietnam last night, the Filipinos played minus head coach Michael Weiss who was suspended for a game after throwing a ball on a Thai player, Saturday.
The team started with Rob Geir, Juani Guirado, James and Phil Younghusband, Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Jason De Jong, Paul Mulders, Ray Johnnson, Patrick Reichelt and Sacapaño.*NAB
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