THE Philippine men’s football team turned to two veterans who hardly made their marks in the Azkals’ last tournament to outlast Hong Kong, 1-0, in their friendly on Tuesday night at the Mongkok Stadium.
James Younghusband and Neil Etheridge, both of whom hardly received playing time in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup Qualifiers last March due to the team’s abundance of talent, shone in their own right this time to lead the Azkals to their first victory over their Asian neighbors in seven games.
The Azkals now have a win, a draw, against five losses versus Hong Kong.
Younghusband headed in the lone goal that mattered 33 minutes into the game, before Etheridge saved numerous attempts by the host, including a penalty strike.
The goal was the first for Younghusband in almost a year since he scored in the Azkals’ 2-2 draw against Indonesia in June 2012.
Hong Kong had a golden chance to equalize when Juani Guirado was called for a foul after a tackle inside the box in the 67th minute.
But Etheridge, whose starting spot in the Challenge Cup was occupied by another standout goalkeeper in Roland Muller, denied Hong Kong’s shot.
The Filipino-British Etheridge, who recently renewed his contract with English Premier side Fulham, made several crucial saves later in the match as the Azkals preserved the score.