Azkals blast Nepalis
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With top scorer Phil Younghusband anchoring a nearly relentless attack, the Philippine Azkals dominated 10-man Nepal and romped off with a 4-1 triumph to start their bid in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers with a bang last night at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Younghusband, who had 43 international goals prior to the match, did what he does best and scored a brace in the first 23 minutes to lay the foundation for the opening win that put the Azkals on top of Group F.

Iain Ramsay (29’) and Javier Patino (73’) joined the scoring fray as Phl secured the three points to the delight of a 1,750-strong crowd.

Younghusband actually initially bungled his first try as his 21st minute spot-kick was saved by Gorkhali custodian Kiran Kumar. But he made up for it when Phl won another penalty two minutes later, fooling Kumar and sending it to the left bottom corner to give Phl the headstart against a Nepal side that played one man down from the 13th minute on following the early ejection of Bikram Rama.

The Azkals skipper struck again just two minutes after, cashing in on a Mike Ott delivery to double Phl’s lead.  Ramsay fired a volley near the half-hour mark to make it 3-0 before sub Bushal Rai sneaked one in late in the first half. Patino restored a three-goal lead with a low shot at the 73rd.

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