The Philippine Azkals team rolled past Maldives, 2-0, in their friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Thursday evening.
After a nearly three-month break, the Azkals were back to action with a home win against the Maldivians indicating their preparedness for their crucial match against Uzbekistan on September 8.
The Filipino booters started with a slow pace with team captain Phil Younghusband revving up the Azkals’ offensive in the first few minutes of the game.
Down with just a few minutes left in the first half, the Azkals continued their raid led by Stephan Schrock on the right and Iain Ramsey on the left but both squads entered the break with a 0-0 deadlock.
Coach Thomas Dooley fielded fresh legs in the second half with Paul Mulders, Dennis Villanueva and Kenshiro Daniels replacing Daisuke Sato, Phil Younghusband and Misagh Bahadoran.
An own goal by Maldivian defender Mohamed Samdhooh gave the Philippines a 1-0 edge in the 50th minute.
Not long after, Jerry Lucena doubled the Azkals’ lead through a header in the 55th minute.
With a comfortable 2-0 advantage, Dooley fielded fresh players Javier Patiño, Paolo Bugas and OJ Porteria in the dying minutes of the final half.
The Red Snappers of Maldives exhausted all means to catch up but failed to score a goal until the final whistle.