Throwback: Ten Suzuki Cup Moments for the Azkals

Throwback: Ten Suzuki Cup Moments for the Azkals

With the AFF Suzuki Cup set to kick off in a couple of days, has come up with a bit of a throwback to look at several dates that the Azkals played in the tournament thus far.

The Philippines have participated in every installment of the Suzuki Cup except in 2008 when they failed to advance past the qualifying round. In all, the Philippines has played 36 games (including semifinals) winning six games, drawing five, and losing 25.

We have selected a number of matches from the past to remind us how far the Philippines has gone, and how far we have yet to go.

September 2, 1996 – The first ever Suzuki Cup match: Philippines 0-5 Thailand
It was a painful start for the Azkals in the Suzuki Cup as they yielded to Thailand, 5-0 at the Jurong Stadium in Singapore. Current Thailand head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang scored in that game in the 14th minute.

August 29, 1998 – Freddy Gonzales scores the first ever Suzuki Cup goal: Thailand 3-1 Philippines
Former Loyola Meralco Sparks striker Freddy Gonzales opened the Philippines’ account in the tournament with a 30th minute strike. However, Thailand scored thrice to claim the win at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

December 23, 2002 – Indonesia 13-1 Philippines
Going into the last match of the group stage, Indonesia needed to win big to advance to the semifinal round. The Philippines were the opposition that evening at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and it only took the Garudas 16 minutes to score three goals as the match ended in a 13-1 rout. Former Ceres-La Salle head coach and now technical director Ali Go scored the consolation in the 78th minute.

December 14, 2004 – Caligdong Leaves it Late To Claim Maiden Suzuki Cup Win: Philippines 2-1 Timor Leste
Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong could not have asked for a better debut. The current Azkals assistant coach came off the bench to score twice in the dying minutes of the match to claim a 2-1 win over Timor Leste at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Malaysia. It was the Azkals’ first ever win in the competition. Caligdong’s goals were timed in the 91st and 93rd minutes.

November 14, 2006 – Phil Younghusband has Arrived: Philippines 7-0 Timor Leste
Facing the same opposition they defeated two years prior, the Younghusband-powered Philippines ran riot and scored seven goals past Timor Leste in the AFF qualifiers held at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. Current Azkals topscorer Phil Younghusband opened his account with a four goal romp as he went on to become the top scorer of the qualifiers. Chris Greatwich, Ariel Zerrudo, and Caligdong also found the back of the net.

October 23, 2008 – Azkals Miss Out on Suzuki Cup: Cambodia 2-3 Philippines
The Philippines missed out on the big dance for the very first time despite winning their final game against Cambodia, 2-3. Aly Borromeo, Greatwich, and Chad Gould netted for the Azkals in front of 15,000 Cambodian fans. However, Cambodia won their final match against Brunei to advance to the final rounds scoring nine goals to the Philippines’ six.

October 24, 2010 – Younghusbands Send Azkals to Hanoi: Philippines 2-2 Laos
Losing to Laos by two goals with less than 15 minutes left, the Azkals pulled off a Harry Houdini to clinch a point in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Phil Younghusband scored a penalty in the 76th minute that was followed up by a James Younghusband equalizer in the 94th minute. A draw against Cambodia two days later confirmed their participation in the final rounds in Hanoi

December 5, 2010 – Hanoi Miracle: Philippines 2-0 Vietnam
They were expected to lose. They were expected to be humiliated in front of 40,000 Vietnamese fans at the My Dinh Stadium. But on that warm day in Hanoi, everything went the other way. The Philippines defeated Vietnam 2-0 to turn a few heads. Vietnam were reigning champions and the loss to the Philippines cracked their invulnerability. Greatwich broke the deadlock in the 38th minute and Phil Younghusband, who was sick that day, clinched the upset in the 79th minute.

November 27, 2012 – Hail to the Ch13f: Vietnam 0-1 Philippines
Vietnam and the Philippines squared off once again two years after that fateful December night. This time the venue was the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. Both teams were deadlocked at 0-0 with four minutes left when Angel Guirado launched a long ball to find Caligdong free in the box. The substitute nailed Vietnam’s coffin shut with a sublime strike past the goalkeeper to win it for the Philippines.

November 25, 2014 – Indonesia Vanquished: Philippines 4-0 Indonesia
The memory of the 13-1 game in 2002 may still have been on everyone’s mind heading into this match. Phil Younghusband scored a 16th minute penalty to put the Philippines ahead at the half. Tense moments followed in the second half as Indonesia applied pressure, but Manny Ott doubled the advantage with a terrific strike in the 52nd minute. Martin Steuble sneaked in a cleverly-timed indirect free kick to make it 3-0 before Rob Gier surprised everyone with a goal 11 minutes from time. The win was the Azkals’ first over the Indonesians in 80 years and allowed them to advance to the semifinals for the third straight time.

Ten games, ten results that made massive impacts on the Azkals in the Suzuki Cup. Will there be more good results and stories to tell this year? One thing’s for sure, this tournament is definitely going to be exciting.



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