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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Iloilo booters hold Azkals to 1-1 draw in exhibition match


The Philippine national football team "Azkals" was pinned to a 1-1 draw in an intense exhibition match against a local team in Iloilo Tuesday, a report from a local online site said Wednesday.

Also, the Iloilo-based The Daily Guardian said local residents cheered on their home team during the game in Barotac Nuevo town.

We don’t mind our hunger for as long as we can watch football," the stage announcer said halfway through the friendly game of the famed national football team against Central Philippine University (CPU), the report said.

Many in the crowd who hailed from Barotac Nuevo cheered on their own town mates in the match against the "Azkals."

Interestingly, Iloilo residents form part of the "Azkals" team, including star striker Ian Araneta, co-captain Emilio Caligdong, Mark Ferrer, Roel Gener, Nestorio Margase, Joebel Bermejo, Yanti Barsales, and Ricardo Becite III.

During Tuesday's match, the open field in front of the San Antonio De Padua Church was packed with 7,000 fans, many of whom supported the "practice" game of the Azkals, who are preparing for the country’s first World Cup qualifying match since 1993.

The crowd cheered on even after CPU's Jovanni Sempron scored a goal at the 19th minute. Becite, on the other hand, scored an equalizer in the second half.

Still, Caligdong said that as Ilonggo players, they are always putting their best foot forward as they are representing the essence of what it means to be products of the country’s football capital.

Caligdong and the rest of the Ilonggo Azkals played on the very same field as children before they had gotten the opportunity to represent the nation in several international games, including last year's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup.

Now, they are hoping to bring more pride to their hometown as the "Azkals" will face Sri Lanka in a two-leg qualifying match for the World Cup on June 29 and July 3. — LBG, GMA News


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