Azkal The Philippines’ Angel Guirado celebrates his 12th international goal during their joint FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers against the Maldives. Photo courtesy of the PFF/Azkals

Guirado shines as Azkals finish 3rd

June 16, 2021 Theodore P. Jurado 153 views

ANGEL Guirado moved in a tie as the third all-time best Philippine goalscorer as the Azkals battled the Maldives to a 1-1 stalemate to close out their second round campaign of the joint FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers at the Sharjah Stadium in United Arab Emirates yesterday.

The Philippines ended up in third place in the Group A table with 11 points behind Syria, which has 21 points in top spot, and runner-up China, which has 19.

Despite the draw, the Azkals are already assured of a spot in the third and final round of the continental qualifiers following last Friday’s 3-0 romp of Guam.

The third round matches are set to be played in November.

Guirado broke the deadlock in the 19th minute after he volleyed past the Maldivian keeper Mohamed Faisal.

The 36-year Guirado hiked his tally to 12 international goals, as the Fil-Spanish forward joined James Younghusband in third behind all-time leaders Phil Younghusband (52), Chieffy Caligdong (16).

The Maldives leveled six minutes later courtesy of a Ali Faisar strike, and both sides maintained the parity the rest of the way.

With the result, the fourth-placed Maldivians have also confirmed their place in the Asian Cup qualifying third round with seven points.