EMELIO 'Chieffy' Caligdong was hardly pleased when he found himself relegated to the substitute bench for the Azkals' crunch clash against Vietnam in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup on Tuesday night.
“Syempre mas maganda pag nasa first eleven ka,” Caligdong said, although he was the first to admit that his performance in a starting role in the opening loss to Thailand left much to be desired.
“Pero disappointed ako sa laro ko sa first game. Hindi ko nagawa gusto kong gawin kaya sabi ko nung maipasok ako versus Vietnam, kahit sub ako, gagawin ko lahat at makakaasa kayo.”
That was exactly what the longtime Azkals star did as he combined with fellow sub Angel Guirado for what coach Michael Weiss later described as a "world-class" goal, leading the Philippine booters to a 1-0 win over the fancied Vietnamese.
“He was not happy not to be started," the German coach said later. "Unfortunately there are too many players and it’s better (to happen) now (than) to come later on.”
Caligdong, who was replaced by Jason de Jong in the starting XI, made the most of the situation.
Taking advantage of his fresher legs, Caligdong, 30, came in for James Younghusband in the 74th minute and made his presence felt right away, scoring just 11 minutes later to power the Azkals to the morale-boosting triumph.
Weiss was also quick to give credit to Guirado, the long-haired 6-foot-2 striker who often comes under criticism for his ball-hogging ways that disrupt the team's offense.
This time, he supplied the exquisite chip that set up his skipper's winning goal.
“The pass was fantastic from Angel Guirado,” Weiss said of the Filipino-Spaniard. “We want to see Angel like this and not dribble with five men. We want to see Angel preparing goals and assisting.
“The finish was so beautiful, high-level, and world-class,” Weiss added.