By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Philippine men’s national football team bounced back from a previous loss in the second round of joint qualification for FIFA World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023, beating Guam, 4-1, in Group A action on Tuesday in Dededo.
Wound up at the raw end of a 5-2 game against Syria in the opener of the second round of the qualifiers on Sept. 5, the Philippine Azkals made sure not to fall a second straight time by fashioning out a steady attack right from the start all the way to the end against the home side to get the win and the full three points that pushed them to third place, as of this writing, in their grouping with a one win and one loss record.
Angel Guirado got the Philippines on the board in the seventh minute off a header.
After five minutes. Patrick Reichelt made it 2-0 for the visitors.
The Azkals tried to add up to their lead for the remainder of the opening half but no more goals would be scored as the contest reached the halfway point.
In the second half, Guam came out with more fire on its home field.
It would manage to cut its deficit into half, 2-1, in the 67th minute as Marcus Lopez converted on a penalty kick.
But the Philippines nipped the rally in the bud, with Stephan Schrock handing the Azkals a two-point cushion anew in the 71st minute.
John Patrick Strauss put the game away for the Philippines when he struck in the 82nd minute to make it a 4-1 count.
With the loss, Guam dropped to two losses, currently at the bottom of Group A.
In the second round of qualification, the Philippines hopes to finish on top of the grouping, or at a least have one of the best four runner-up records among the eight groups, to advance to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers.
The Azkals return to action on Oct. 10 in an away match against China.