50 and the win: Phil Younghusband's 'perfect' night
Santino Honasan on Mar 28, 2018 01:01 AM
For team captain Phil Younghusband, getting his 50th international goal in the Azkal's biggest win was perfect.
It was like an ending take straight from a fairy tale.
With a 1-1 scoreline, Phil Younghusband stepped up to take a penalty in the 90th minute of their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match against Tajikistan, Tuesday evening.
It was a penalty that put the Azkals down a goal midway through the second half, and after an equalizer from Kevin Ingreso less than ten minutes later, the Azkals were staring at an Asian Cup berth.
A draw was all that the Pinoy side needed, but with Younghusband set to take the penalty, it was pretty much the icing on the cake.
And with 4600 Filipino fans cheering him on, Younghusband fired the penalty attempt past Mahkamov Abduaziz to secure the 2-1 win.
It was also the Filipino-British forward’s 50th conversion in 97 matches for the Philippine men’s national team.
Imagine scoring your 50th international goal to seal the win for your country and secure a place in the biggest tournament you've ever been.
Perfect, as Phil said in an earlier interview.
“Obviously it would be perfect if I could score the 50th and we win the game,”
Well, very rarely do things fall perfectly into place, but for Phil and the Azkals, Tuesday night was, with all things considered, perfect.
With the big five-o, Phil joins the 50-and above club of international goal scorers, which includes greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and many more. He also becomes the first Filipino to do so.
And while the goal was indeed a milestone, the 30-year old was more excited about the bigger picture, which was getting into the Asian Cup for the first time in history.
“For me, the feeling of going to the Asian Cup, that’s what matters to me. Like I said, if it came from this game or in ten games’ time, that wasn’t on my mind. It was about getting the win.” Younghusband said. “If we’d won with my own goal, that meant more for me. To have the feeling at the same time makes it more special.”
Affter the ‘perfect’ ending, Younghusband and the Azkals get to enjoy a bit of time off before preparing for their maiden Asian Cup campaign, which kicks off on January 5th of 2019.
But for now, soak it all in, Phil. You and the rest of the Azkals deserve it.
“It’s an incredible feeling. The only think I can think about qualification. I’m not thinking about the result, the 50, what I’m thinking right now is all the hard work that we did to make the Asian Cup.” Younghusband said.