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The Philippine Azkals first 11 during their match against Guam at the continuation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup & 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers last 11 June 2021 in UAE. (Photo from the Philippine Azkals)

The Philippine Azkals (men’s national football team) has gallantly played against Guam as they secure the third-place spot for the continuation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup & 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the night before the nation celebrates its 123rd Independence Day.

Azkals veteran Angel Guirado, who is playing his 10th year for the national team, opened the scoring gates for the Philippines at the 12th-minute mark of the match — thanks to an attack play set by Jefferson Tabinas and Oliver Bias. At halftime, it was 1-NIL in favor of the Filipinos.

On the 59th-minute, a free-kick by Manuel “Manny” Ott just outside the box was received by Mark Winhoffer’s heading, which fortunately touched Guam’s Miguel Lopez and got deflected to hit the back of net — own goal. The Azkals still on the lead, 2-NIL.

Another Azkals veteran, Mark Hartmann gave the Philippines’ 3rd goal of the night at the 88th-minute when his free-kick just outside the penalty box went straight inside the goal. Victory for the Philippines, 3-NIL as the final whistle was blown.

Guam remains winless against the Philippines in men’s football from their last five (05) matches: 29 January 2000 (NIL-2), 12 June 2012 (NIL-3), 25 September 2012 (NIL-1), 10 September 2019 (1-4), and this recently concluded one last 11 June 2021 (NIL-3).

The Azkals currently have 10 points, behind Syria’s 21 points and China’s 16 points, and are scheduled to play against the Maldives this coming Tuesday, 15 June 2021 evening (Manila time) for the continuation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup & 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers.

Pinoy Fans Virtually Cheer for the Azkals

In one livestream via the social media site Facebook, there were at least 8,000 viewers during the peak of the broadcast — not bad for a basketball-crazy country watching a football game past 10 PM. Azkals fans hosted Zoom viewing parties and trooped to different social media networks celebrating each of the three (03) goals made by the Filipino squad.

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