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Kaya FC opens AFC Cup 2020 campaign with massive, hard-fought win

Kaya FC-Iloilo opened their AFC Cup 2020 campaign with an all-important 2-0 win against Burmese champions Shan United FC in an away fixture held at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar last February 12.

Three minutes after kick-off, Kaya were presented with a chance, but team captain Jovin Bedic and Takumi Uesato were not able to capitalize on the opportunity.

In the fifth minute, Kaya goalkeeper Louie Casas went on the receiving end of a high boot from a Shan united forward, but only foul was called. Two minutes later, a set-piece, delivered by Jason Panhay, connected with Simone Rota, but the defender’s header just went narrowly wide of the far post.

For the most part of the early proceedings, Kaya’s men were able to show a bit more control of the match, while the hosts were more tentative with the possession afforded to them.

However, around 24 minutes into the match, Shan United started to come to life with some nifty plays. Two minutes later, Nanda Kyaw broke free beating the defense, but Mike Casas came up with a reflex save to deny the on-target attempt that may have been the breakthrough for the Burmese club.

In the 43rd minute, another instance raised the alarms against Kaya FC with Shan United producing another fine through ball pass, but defender Shirmar Felongco was able to to come up with a timely tackle to snuff out what could be a golden opportunity for the hosts.

Right before halftime, Kaya should have been up by a goal as a late freekick has been awarded, but what could have been a well-executed delivery from Panhay into the box found Rota who headed well, only to see the ball zip narrowly out of the near post as time expired with both teams goalless into the break.

Around five minutes after the restart, Shan United, showing a brighter start between the two sides, almost saw themselves with the lead but midfielder Yakubu Abubakar’s attempt after breaking free from Simone Rota’s defense was denied by the near post.

Minutes passed by with the match very much in the balance, as both squads saw some half-chances and opportunities, but were not able to notch the icebreaker.

In the 73rd minute a golden opportunity came in favor of the visitors when substitute substitute Arnel Amita was fouled inside Shan United’s box. Captain Jovin Bedic stepped up to take the ensuing spot kick who made no mistake to put his side in front in the next minute.

Immediately, Shan United poured their efforts chasing for an equalizer, but the Filipino side was able to weather the storm after a few nervous moments.

But five minutes before the 90th minute mark, Kaya FC suddenly provided what could have been the clincher as perennial super-sub Eric Giganto produced an unstoppable pile-driver off a feed from Arnel Amita to put the visitors two-goals up.

In the 90th minute, Louie Casas made a timely save to deny substitute Hein Phyo Win with what could have been a consolation goal for Shan United, as the match expired with Kaya FC Iloilo achieving a clean sheet to add to their two-goal haul to open their AFC Cup 2020 campaign with a massive away win in what seems to be a very tough group.

Kaya FC-Iloilo will next play in the AFC Cup as host to Singaporean side Tampines Rovers on February 26, 2020 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Photo credit: AFC

Azkals U22 in Copa Alcantara serves as preview for 2019 SEA Games

The Philippines U22 squad’s opener in the Copa Paulino Alcantara served as a glimpse of what is in store for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) campaign this late November.

Speaking to the media after getting a 1-0 win in their first assignment against Green Archers United and finding themselves as early leaders in Group A, Azkals team manager Dan Palami shared his thoughts on the considerable number of spectators for the cup match that was held last October 27 in Aboitiz Pitch.

“I’m glad the fans came over and I’m happy that they got their preview of what is to come (this SEA Games).”

However, Palami was quick to point out that the list of players comprising the squad for the cup is not yet a confirmation that it will be a hundred percent the same come the biennial meet.

“I mean it’s not the final lineup yet. We’ll trim (the list) down to 20. We still have two players coming from the senior team (which will fill the slots for) the over-age players,” shared the Azkals’ boss.

During their opener last weekend, it was to note that the team expects additional players (at least two more) overseas-based who coming with the hopes of playing a part in the cup.

“Some of the players who are part of this (Copa Alcantara) team are yet to arrive, like Marco Casambre (of Thai club Chainat Hornbill) and Christian Rontini (of Italy’s Sangiovannese 1927).”

With a big pool of talents being considered for the final cut in the SEA Games, Dan Palami is expecting an intense battle for spots from the players.

“I think everybody can see that (each player) wants to play, that is why they are working hard to be part of the team,” Palami added further.

Under-22 assistant coach Ernest Nierras also stated on a separate interview that other players are also still in consideration for the final SEA Games squad, confirming that changes can still occur and nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the spots.

One particular player who has been a constant participant in the junior squad, but is not in the U22 lineup this Copa Alcantara is Ceres-Negros’ Dylan De Bruycker.

“(De Bruycker) wasn’t released by Ceres for this competition. That’s the only reason.”

Coach Nierras further informed that aside from De Bruycker, more players – overseas-based – are still in the process of being considered for the SEA Games squad who were not able to be part of the Copa simply because of their commitments with their respective clubs.

“There are still five players (based overseas) who are not here (that are being eyed).

“We are gonna field the best team that we can put together (for the Southeast Asian Games).”

The Azkals U22 are about to face their sternest test yet in their 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara participation as they face undefeated league champions Ceres-Negros who are aiming to bounce back from their lacklustre draw in their cup opener against Mendiola FC. Match kicks off at 4PM in Binan Football Stadium.

Meanwhile Mendiola FC and Green Archers continue their cup campaign as they face off in Aboitiz pitch followed by Philippine Air Force and Stallion Laguna in an evening kickoff on the same venue.

Photo credit: The Azkals

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Azkals overseas: Patino, Palla face Falkesgaard in mouthwatering T1 clash

After the midweek AFC Cup action involving two Filipino clubs, it’s now time to focus on Filipino football players in overseas leagues as they play their respective fixtures this third weekend of March 2019.

The match that could gain the most attention for Filipino football fans might be in Thailand as Bangkok United, with Azkals Michael Falkesgaard as their main goalkeeper, host Buriram United, who have Javier Patino and Stephan Palla in their ranks in a clash between league contenders.

(Kickoff schedules are in Philippine Standard Time)

Daisuke Sato, DF – Sepsi OSK Sfantu Gheorghe [Romanian Liga I Playoff]

Sepsi OSK vs Universitatea Craiova: March 16, Saturday at 2:30AM

John-Patrick Strauss, MF – FC Erzgebirge Aue [German 2. Bundesliga]

Holstein Kiel vs Erzgebirge Aue: March 16, Saturday at 1:30AM

Kevin Ray Mendoza, GK – AC Horsens [Danish Superliga]

AC Horsens vs Brondby IF: March 18, Monday at 12:00AM

Jordan Jarvis, DF – Eastern Long Lions [Hong Kong Premier League]

Hoi King vs Eastern: March 17, Sunday at 2:30PM

Hikaru Minegishi, MF – JL Chiangmai United [Thai League 2 (T2)]

Nongbua Pitchaya vs JL Chiangmai United: March 16, Saturday at 9:00PM

THAI LEAGUE 1 (T1)

Marco Casambre, DF and Adam Reed, MF – Chainat Hornbill

Prachuap vs Chainat Hornbill: March 15, Friday at 9:00PM

Michael Falkesgaard, GK – Bangkok United vs Javier Patino, FW and Stephan Palla, DF – Buriram United

Bangkok United vs Buriram United: March 17, Sunday at 8:00PM

Mark Hartmann, FW – Suphanburi FC

Suphanburi vs Chonburi: March 16, Saturday at 7:00PM

Amin Nazari MF and Manuel Ott, MF* – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol

Chiangmai FC vs Ratchaburi Mitr Phol: March 16, Saturday at 6:45PM

Iain Ramsay, MF – Sukhothai FC

Pattaya United vs Sukhothai: March 17, Sunday at 7:00PM

*Manuel Ott is still recovering from a shin injury.

Photo credits: Buriram United, Bangkok United

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Azkals overseas: March 2019 weekend 1 fixtures

A new month is upon us. Here are the fixtures of Philippine internationals who are playing in overseas leagues this weekend.

Note: All schedules are in Philippine Standard Time

Neil Etheridge, GK – Cardiff City FC [Premier League]

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Cardiff City FC: March 2, Saturday at 11:00PM

Daisuke Sato, DF – Sepsi OSK [Romanian Liga I Playoff]

CFR Cluj vs Sepsi OSK: March 4, Monday at 2:00AM

John Patrick Strauss, MF – Erzgebirge Aue [2. Bundesliga]

SV Sandhausen vs Erzgebirge Aue: March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Kevin Ray Mendoza, GK – AC Horsens [Danish Superliga]

Esbjerg vs AC Horsens – March 3, Sunday at 1:00AM

Jordan Jarvis, DF – Eastern [Hong Kong Premier League]

Sun Pegasus vs Eastern – March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo, DF – PKNP [Malaysia Super League]

PKNP vs Pahang – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Joshua Grommen, DF – PJ City FC [Malaysia Super League]

Felda United vs PJ City FC – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt, MF – Melaka United vs Luke Woodland, DF – Kuala Lumpur FA [Malaysia Premier League]

Melaka United vs Kuala Lumpur – March 3, Sunday at 9:00PM

Hikaru Minegishi, MF – JL Chiangmai United [Thai League 2]

JL Chiangmai United vs BG Pathum United – March 3, Sunday at 7:00PM

Mark Hartmann, FW – Suphanburi vs Javier Patino, FW & Stephan Palla, DF – Buriram United [Thai League 1]

DONE: Suphanburi 0 – 0 Buriram United – March 1, Friday at 8:00PM

Michael Falkesgaard, GK – Bangkok United [Thai League 1]

Bangkok United vs Muangthong United – March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Iain Ramsay, MF – Sukhothai [Thai League 1]

Chiangmai vs Sukhothai – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Marco Casambre, DF & Adam Reed, MF – Chainat Hornbill [Thai League 1]

Trat vs Chainat Hornbill – March 3, Sunday at 7:00PM

Amin Nazari, MF & Manuel Ott, MF – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol [Thai League 1]

Port FC vs Ratchaburi Mitr Phol – March 3, Sunday at 8:00PM

Photo credits: Buriram United Facebook, Suphanburi Facebook, Sukhothai Facebook, Melaka United Facebook, Neil Etheridge Instagram,

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Azkals overseas: February 2019 weekend 4 fixtures

There’s a bit of a shakeup in the Azkals overseas lineup as Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland join PKNP and Kuala Lumpur FA respectively in the Malaysia Super League.

Also, with the Thai League 1 beginning this weekend, it is going to be a pretty busy set of fixtures with the list of matches coming this week [all kickoff schedules are in Philippine Standard Time]:

Neil Etheridge [GK, Cardiff City FC – Premier League]

Cardiff City vs Watford – February 23 [Saturday], 3:45 AM

Daisuke Sato [DF, Sepsi OSK – Romanian Liga I Playoff]

Sepsi OSK vs Viitorul – Feburary 23 [Saturday], 1:00AM

Kevin Ray Mendoza [GK, AC Horsens – Danish Superliga]

AC Horsens vs Odense Boldklub – February 24 [Sunday], 9:00PM

John-Patrick Strauß [MF, FC Erzgebirge Aue – 2. Bundesliga]

Erzgebirge Aue vs FC Duisburg – February 24 [Sunday], 9:30PM

Hikaru Minegishi [MF, JL Chiangmai United – Thai League 2]

Sisaket FC vs JL Chiangmai United – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

MALAYSIA SUPER LEAGUE

Joshua Grommen [DF, PJ City FC]: PJ City FC vs Kedah FA [Home] – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt [MF/FW, Melaka United]: Johor Darul Ta’zim vs Melaka United – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

Luke Woodland [DF/MF, Kuala Lumpur FA]: Kuala Lumpur vs Terengganu – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo [DF, PKNP FC]: PKNS vs PKNP – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

THAI LEAGUE 1

Amin Nazari [MF], Manuel Ott [MF] – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol: Ratchaburi Mitr Phol vs Trat FC – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Marco Casambre [DF], Adam Reed [MF] – Chainat Hornbill vs Mark Hartmann [FW, Suphanburi FC]: Chainat Hornbill vs Suphanburi – February 23 [Saturday], 7:45PM

Stephan Palla [DF], Javier Patino [FW] – Buriram United: Buriram United vs Chonburi – February 23 [Saturday], 8:00PM

Iain Ramsay [MF, Sukhothai FC] vs Michael Falkesgaard [GK, Bangkok United]: Sukhothai vs Bangkok United – Feburary 24 [Sunday], 7:00PM

Photo credits: PKNP FC Instagram, Kuala Lumpur FA Instagram

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A full Azkals squad now playing in Thailand

With midfielder Adam Reed’s joining with Thai League 1 club Chainat Hornbill, Thailand now has a full squad of eleven Filipino internationals playing in its football leagues.

Here is the list of Filipino footballers now signed with Thai clubs:

  • Javier Patino – Forward, Buriram United
  • Mark Hartmann – Forward, Suphanburi FC
  • Iain Ramsay – Winger/Midfielder, Sukhothai FC
  • Manuel Ott – Midfielder, Ratchaburi Mitr Phol
  • Amin Nazari – Midfielder, Ratchaburi Mitr Phol
  • Adam Reed – Midfielder, Chainat Hornbill
  • Hikaru Minegishi – Midfielder, JL Chiangmai United [Thai League 2]
  • Stephan Palla – Defender, Buriram United
  • Luke Woodland – Defender, Buriram United
  • Marco Casambre – Defender, Chainat Hornbill
  • Michael Falkesgaard – Goalkeeper, Bangkok United

Here’s how the Azkals 11 in Thailand would look like if lined up as one team [3-5-2 formation]:

Seeing the wealth of talent, it’s a pretty decent and competitive lineup that could very much stand to-to-toe against other clubs or teams.

Photo credits: Bangkok United, Buriram United, Ratchaburi Mitr Phol, Chainat Hornbill

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OFFICIAL: Marco Casambre unveiled by Thai club Chainat Hornbill

After initially suiting up for the Thai League 1 club Chainat Hornbill in a friendly, former Davao Aguilas defender Marco Casambre was formally unveiled by his new club as its 2nd ASEAN player signing for the 2019 season on January 22.

It was initially reported that Casambre played in a friendly preseason scrimmage last January 12. Ten days later, his inclusion in the squad is now a done deal.


The acquisition has a potential to be a major coup for the Chai Nat Province-based club as Casambre is a 20-year-old footballing savant with his first senior cap for the Azkals earned just before turning 18-years-old when he impressed then national team head coach Thomas Dooley in the latter part of 2016.

This move also is a milestone of sorts as it makes Marco Casambre the first homegrown Filipino footballing talent to join a Thai League 1 outfit.

Before playing for Davao Aguilas which, unfortunately, have withdrawn its senior team from competing in professional football, Casambre has been a regular starter for Global Cebu where he was able to amass a significant amount of experience in the pro ranks, especially when the club competed in the 2017 AFC Cup and the Singapore Cup.

The 2019 season of Thai League 1 begins on February 22, 2019 and Chainat Hornbill will most definitely aim to improve by leaps and bounds from their previous season’s performance when they barely avoided relegation due to a better head-to-head record against Bangkok Glass [now known as BG Pathum United] as both ended their respective campaigns with an identical 42-points haul in the table.

Photo credit: Chainat Hornbill Facebook Page

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Azkals defender Marco Casambre suited up for Thai club Chainat Hornbill in preseason friendly

Senior capped 20-year-old Filipino defender, Marco Casambre has featured as a starter for Thai League 1 club Chainat Hornbill last January 12, 2019 in a friendly preseason game against League 2 outfit Nakhonpathom United.

ภาพบรรยากาศแข่งขันนัดอุ่นเครื่องระหว่าง นครปฐม ยูไนเต็ด – ชัยนาท ฮอร์นบิล ที่สนามโรงเรียนกีฬาเทศบาลนครนครปฐม…

Posted by CHAINAT Football Club on Saturday, January 12, 2019

The former Davao Aguilas FC player can be considered as back in the market after the Mindanaoan club opted to dissolve its senior team in-line with the major changes in Philippine professional club football landscape.

His stint with the Thai club could only be a trial though, and not yet a done deal, as there have been no official announcements yet from any of the club’s official media channels that the Filipino has been signed or acquired already.

It is to note though that Marco has not been caught in the club’s photos of their subsequent training session and preseason friendly encounter against Khonkaen United last January 18, 2019.

Photo credit: Chainat Hornbill Facebook Page