Too many scoring chances only one was fruitful on the part of the Azkals. That's the whole story of their first leg match against the feisty Sri Lanka Red Braves. The Red Braves were able to capitalize on the miscues of the Azkals. The number 7 Chathura Gunaratne of Sri Lanka scored the first goal of the match at the 41' mark of the game. But the Azkals never gave up.
The Azkals had at least 10 free kicks and 8 corner kicks in this match but they were only able to convert one free kick into a goal. They just wasted several opportunities to win the match. James Younghusband was very aggressive to score for the Azkals but he was just off in this match. He had several openings but he failed to score. His brother, Phil Younghusband was also off. Phil was not in his usual self as he didn't do well on the defensive and offensive end for the Azkals. He probably succumbed to the pain of his right hamstring injury.
"Basura" goal, that's what the very lucky Nate Burkey got out of one of the many beautiful free kicks of the silent assassin Chiefy Caligdong. Out of the scuffle that was made by the Sri Lankan Goalie, Nate Burke was able to drive that ball to their goal at the 49' mark of the match. As a result the match was a draw. The gamble of coach Weiss to field in Burke to replace Phil Younghusband paid dividend for his team.
In my own point of view, aside from James Younghusband, Emilio "Chiefy" Caligdong was the other player who showed a tremendous amount of effort and brilliance for the Azkals. As always, he consistently played like my idol, Leo Messi in this match. Chiefy will surely be a very important player for the Azkals in the second leg against Sri Lanka on Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 2 p.m. live on Studio 23. The odds are on the Azkals' side but they should avoid a 0-2 loss against Sri Lanka or else, they will be out from the World Cup Qualifiers. The main rule is, the team who has the higher number of goals will proceed to face Kuwait.