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Azkals blank Guamanians



The Philippine Azkals boosted its Asian Cup qualification hopes as they demolished Guam, 3-0, in the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers in Sharjah Stadium, United Arab Emirates.

The Filipinos roared with a dominating performance against a gritty Guam side, as they solidified their third place position in the Group A and virtually secured a slot for the third round of the prestigious Asian qualifiers.

But despite grabbing the much-needed three points in the match, Azkals head coach Scott Cooper was not entirely satisfied with the performance of his wards.

“I think we were pleased with the result, but the performance was patchy. We played well for five or 10 minutes, then another five to ten minutes where we didn’t play so well,” Cooper said.

“Our standards with the Philippine (team) are much higher than that. I think we did not have enough continuity in this game.”

Coming off a 0-2 loss against China on Tuesday, the squad quickly displayed its intensity right at the get go, as veteran striker Angel Guirado broke the scoresheet after tucking a cross from Oliver Bias in the 12th minute of the match.

Azkals youngster and substitute Mark Winhoffer doubled their lead with a header from Manny Ott’s free kick in the 60th minute, but it was eventually listed as an own goal from Guamanian defender Marcus Lopez.

With momentum on their side, another veteran striker in Mark Hartmann curled a late free kick in the 88th minute, which ended Guam’s hopes for a late comeback in the game.

“I think it’s nice to finally score two goals from set pieces, which we talked about a lot,” Cooper said. “(But) we can’t have this level where we keep dropping in and out of quality.”

The Azkals are set to end their second round campaign on a high note when they clash against Maldives on 15 June.