MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – The Philippine Azkals barged into the 2012 Challenge Cup finals by hammering out a sensational 3-0 victory over the Bangladesh Bengal Tigers on Friday.
Filipino-Spanish booter Angel Aldeguer Guirado scored 2 goals while fellow striker Ian Araneta struck 1 to help the Azkals qualify for the tournament proper scheduled next year.
Araneta scored the first goal for the Philippines in the 41st minute after picking up a loose ball off Guirado.
Guirado, a revelation for the Filipino squad, followed this up by heading in a pass from Araneta in the early part of the second half.
The Filipino-Spanish booter struck again in the 80th minute by picking up a loose ball, shooting from 20 yards to the bottom left corner of Bangladesh’s goal.
The Azkals, who were held to two straight draws by Palestine and host country Myanmar, started out aggressively against the hapless Bangladeshis.
The aggressive play resulted in an early injury stoppage that had Bangladesh’s Zahid being carried off the field.
Asde from the consistent offense, the Azkals also set up an indomitable defense with team captain Aly Borromeo, Anton del Rosario and Ray Jonsson, clipping Bangladesh’s wingmen.
The Azkals only scare was Bangladesh’s near score off a loose ball in the first half. Fortunately, Filipino-British keeper Neil Etheridge went out to clear the ball.
The Filipino booters now have a total of 5 points on 1 win and 2 draws to finish as the Top 2 team in their bracket.
Leading the group is Palestine, which defeated Myanmar (3-1) on Friday, for a total of 7 points on 2 wins and 1 draw.
Bangladesh finished 3rd with 3 points (1 w