WHAT. A. GAME.
We have just witnessed one of the greatest football ever played by a Philippine football team.
One touch football. Relentless hustle. Running down the channels. Intricate short passing. Disciplined in defence. Persistent in attack.
There was poetry in their motion, beauty in their ball control, beast in their tackles, and intensity in their pursuit of the ball, being first to every loose ball and winning most of the 50:50 challenges.
Even at 1-2 down, the Azkals never looked dejected, still playing their brand of football rather than succumbed to aimless long balls reminiscent of the Weiss era. Thomas Dooley have perfectly instilled his philosophy to his squad. I’ve never seen James Younghusband this sharp after coming on as a substitute and change the complexion of the game.
Neil Etheridge was playing almost at level of David de Gea; Sato at David Alaba; Ott at Andres Iniesta; Bahadoran at Riyadh Mahrez. Guirado at Chris Smalling. Hey, even Patino could be mistaken for Robert Lewandowski.
There was constant running and tenacious harrying from the men in white that wore down the North Korean defense with the Azkals still running full throttle during the last 10 minutes of the match.
All were exceptionally brilliant, especially on an almost dead rubber match. There was fire. There was hunger. There was passion enough to set ablaze the synthetic turf of Rizal Stadium.
It was a night of victory, of celebration, of affirmation that the Philippines belong in international football.
It was a night to remember.
It was a night not consumed by darkness, but illumined by the brightness of the Azkals sparkling brand of football.
More than the 3-2 scoreline, it is the way with which the Azkals fight to win until the end rather than just play not to lose gives joy to all Filipino football fans. Kaya naman pala eh!
The future is bright for Philippine football!