Of rain, flood and goals— and a pandesal buffet too!

When it rains, it comes in goals.

The Philippine Azkals thrashed the Cambodian Warriors, 8-nil, to a game that saw brownouts, a torrential downpour, a 1-hour suspension, and even some flood on the pitch. My dear reader(s), I am proud to say, I was there, to witness it all happen. I would’ve wanted to be in the bleachers to sing and dance with the other fans, though.

One of the rare times the players were on the Cambodian side of the pitch.

One of the rare times the players were on the Cambodian side of the pitch.

I knew Cambodia wasn’t that much of a powerhouse team, but I never expected our team to give them that much of a beating. Coming into the game, I knew the boys had to score at least seven goals to move ahead of Turkmenistan in the competition. This is not my proudest moment as a fan, but for a while there, I found myself praying and hoping to high heavens for the team to at least break the 5-goal mark. I’ve never seen the Azkals win such lopsidedly before, and I didn’t know enough about the Cambodian team to make a judgment whether our boys would have a crack at the 7 goals. Boy, was this the only time I was proven wrong, and I was really glad and thankful for that.

It was our strongest lineup yet, with only Carli de Murga and Phil Younghusband playing locally, with the rest of the team based abroad. Stephan Markus Schröck plays at the highest level, for the Bündesliga team, Hoffenheim. Javier “Patigol” Patiño was all set to make his local debut after playing internationally for Spanish second-division club Cordoba CF then loaned to Xerez CD, before signing just recently with Thai club Buriram United.

Now on to the goals.

Overheard: "Mukhang nawarm-up ni Angel si Phil."

Phil’s first goal was a stroke of luck as the ball hit the right places at the best time. His second, which occurred just a few minutes after the first, is an entirely different story. Goddamit that goal was a BEAUTY. The assist from Paul Mulders, then that left curling shot by Phil, was fucking AWESOME. Tangina. (Sorry for the foul language. I just can’t describe it without using a cuss word as adjective.)

Another goal worth mentioning is Patigol’s goal well into torrential rain time. I don’t know how he was able to see the target through the HEAVY downpour, but I guess skill and just insane football ability enabled him to net that goal. Carli de Murga’s ninja/kung fu kick is also one for the books.

Welcome home, Patigol.

Welcome home, Patigol.

Phil scored a hat-trick plus one, Patigol had a brace, Carli with one, and Schröck with an own goal credited to him– which brings me to the the crazy skill of my night’s Man of the Match.

I tweeted this early on in the game, right after Phil’s first goal. I said, and I quote,

“Goal from Phil almost gets overshadowed by some fancy footwork by Schrock”

I stand corrected, though. Goal from EVERYONE almost gets overshadowed by some fancy footwork by Schròck. The guy is a beast! It looked like he was dancing around with a partner— that night it was the Cambodian right back’s turn to stay in step with him. His speed and agility on the pitch spelt all the difference and dictated the match’ tempo. Oh and everyone had a free early breakfast courtesy of him and his pandesals. Damn, him undressing in front of the crowd seemed like a free buffet.

Think the lopsided game was crazy? Well it gets even crazier than that. Right in the middle of the game, the lights (on the pitch) went out. The game was stalled by a few minutes, but the team’s and the audience’s embarrassment didn’t. Twenty minutes into the second half came another embarrassment. The heavy downpour rendered the pitch unplayable because of pockets of water which made it look more like a swimming pool. The game had to be suspended for an hour to see if it can still be played on, and when they determined that it was, game resumed after 10 minutes of warm-up. A needless red card to Paul Mulders, and a time-wasting Cambodian actor of a goalkeeper later, the Azkals were finally announced as victors of the match.

IMG_20130324_225401

While I have respect for the fans who stayed despite it being a Sunday and with the uncertainty of going home early because of the flood outside, I can only give my utmost praise and admiration to the fans who stayed on and cheered from the uncovered bleachers. It was only fitting that Schrock, Dennis Cagara, and Roland Mûller danced to their cheers right after the game.

I don’t want to dwell on the negative aspects of the game (just for this post, okay?) and just bask in the overflowing pride and happiness brought about by the boys in white. I can never really thank them enough for my ten best moments of the night— the first eight are the goals, ninth is Schrocky taking his shirt off, and tenth was Schrocky just being amazing and bringing all that swag. Hey, let me be a girl, just this once! 🙂

Tonight, the boys will battle it out with Turkmenistan, which previously rendered Cambodia a 7-nil loss. This will be the first time I’ll be missing a home (Manila) game for work. It breaks my heart but I know the boys will make it to the top. On to the AFC Challenge Cup!

P.S. I know some of you came here for the Schröcky pic. Well, I hate disappointing people, so here you go! Enjoy the pandesal buffet, everyone! 🙂

Thanks to Dyan Castillejo for this shirtless pic of Schrock! The girls are eternally grateful to you!

Thanks to Dyan Castillejo for this shirtless pic of Schrock! The girls are eternally grateful to you!

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