Ex-United States captain Dooley set to take charge of Azkals

Former United States captain Thomas Dooley is set to succeed Michael Weiss and be named the new coach of Philippines.

The Azkals have been on the hunt for a new coach since parting ways earlier this month with Weiss, who led them to the semi-finals of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, as well as their highest-ever placing in the FIFA World Rankings.

But it has now been revealed that the vacancy will be filled shortly as the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) finalise a deal for Dooley’s services.

The 52-year-old was born in Germany but qualified to play for the United States through his father, and he became an American citizen in 1992 before playing every minute of their 1994 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Dooley, who also captained the United States at the 1998 World Cup in France, has won the Bundesliga and UEFA Cup with Kaiserslautern and Schalke respectively, before ending his career in the MLS with spells at Columbus Crew and Metrostars, who are now known as the New York Red Bulls.

Given Dooley’s wealth of experience as a player, Azkals team manager Dan Palami is confident they have got the right man for the job.

“I think his experience as a player and coach will help us,” Palami told Inquirer.

“After talking to several candidates, who also had good credentials, we think that he is the best choice.”

Dooley’s first match in charge of the Azkals will be an international friendly against Malaysia on March 1.

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Ha Noi T&T down Pune to set up Muangthong clash

V-League 1 giants Ha Noi T&T took the first step towards AFC Champions League football in 2014 after beating India’s Pune 3-0 in their first round qualifier on Wednesday.

Following a goalless first half at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, the visitors took the lead seven minutes after the break when Sam Gallagher opened the scoring, before Vietnam international Nguyen Van Quyet added a second in the 72nd minute.

Seven minutes from time, Trinidad and Tobago international Hughton Hector netted to make it 3-0 and seal Ha Noi’s progress to the second round of qualification.

Next up for the Vietnamese side is a testing trip to Muangthong United, who played in the group stage of the Champions League last season but ended the campaign with just a point to their name after a tough draw pitted them against eventual champions Guangzhou Evergrande, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Urawa Red Diamonds.

Muangthong missed out on automatic qualification this year after finishing second in the Thai Premier League to Buriram United.

Meanwhile, Pune will still participate in continental football this year as they enter the AFC Cup and will play in a group consisting of Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw, Hong Kong giants Kitchee and either Tampines Rovers or Balestier Khalsa of Singapore.

The other first round qualifier in the East Asia Zone will see Tampines take on Hong Kong’s South China at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday.

Kelantan stunned at home; LIONSXII force draw at JDT

Kelantan were handed their first defeat of the new Malaysia Super League season after being beaten 2-1 at home by PKNS FC on Tuesday evening.

Having claimed maximum points in their opening two games of 2014, the Red Warriors were expected to cruise to victory against the Selangor outfit.

But while they did take the lead on the half-hour mark thanks to Ahmad Fakri Saarani’s opener, the visitors responded well and equalised in the 39th minute through an effort from Fauzan Dzulkifli.

A minute later, PKNS went ahead when Aminuddin Noor found the back of the net, which ultimately proved enough for the win as the hosts failed to find an equaliser of their own.

Over at the Larkin Stadium, defending champions LIONSXII came from two goals down to hold Johor Darul Ta’zim to a 2-2 draw.

Harimau Selatan went ahead in the 27th minute after Luciano Figueroa raced onto Pablo Aimar’s glorious through-ball and coolly finished, before the latter doubled his side’s lead five minutes before the break by curling home a 20-yard freekick.

But six minutes after the hour mark, Khairul Amri pulled one back for the LIONSXII by heading home Madhu Mohana’s long throw, and two minutes later, the comeback was complete after Hafiz Abu Sujad netted from close range to earn his side a share of the spoils.

In the day’s afternoon kickoff, Selangor moved top of the table after claiming a 1-0 win over Pahang thanks to Paulo Rangel’s 55th-minute winner – the Brazilian’s fourth goal in as many games.

Over at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Terengganu recorded a 2-0 win over local rivals T-Team to claim their second victory of the campaign.

Following a goalless first half, Marcio Souza da Silva fired the Turtles ahead in the 47th minute, before Ashaari Shamsuddin added a second a minute before the hour mark to seal the win.

Sarawak claimed their first points of the season after cruising to a 3-0 home win over Sime Darby.

Joseph Kalang Tie handed the hosts the lead in the 11th minute from the spot, before another penalty was converted by Gabor Gyepes just before the break to double their lead.

And five minutes after the hour mark, the result was put beyond doubt as Milorad Janjus lashed home a freekick to make it 3-0.

Finally, Argentinean striker Juan Arostegui opened his account for ATM as he scored the only goal of the game in the 18th minute to help them down Perak 1-0.

Tuesday’s 2014 Malaysia Super League Results

Selangor 1-0 Pahang

ATM 1-0 Perak

Johor Darul Ta’zim 2-2 LIONSXII

Kelantan 1-2 PKNS FC

Sarawak 3-0 Sime Darby

Terengganu 2-0 T-Team

PDRM, Kedah stay perfect; JDT II still winless

PDRM moved top of the Malaysia Premier League after continuing their perfect start to 2014 with a 5-1 rout of Penang.

Having opened their campaign with a 3-1 win over Darul Ta’zim II, the Cops took just three minutes to open the scoring in Monday’s game at the Hang Jebat Stadium after Bobby Gonzales netted.

Yong Kuong Yong did manage to pull the visitors level in the 18th minute but Fadhil Hashim restored PDRM’s lead three minutes before the half-hour mark, before Shahril Izwan added a third in the 38th minute.

The contest was all but over on the hour mark when Maldives international Ali Ashfaq made it 4-1, and six minutes later, the rout was complete after Charles Souza Chad rounded off the scoring.

Kedah are the only other team to have a perfect record after two games following a 2-0 victory at DRB-Hicom.

Billy Mehmet put the visitors in front in the 36th minute but the result was never secured until the second minute of injury-time, when the Irish striker grabbed his second to seal the win.

Sabah were condemned to a second straight defeat as FELDA United picked up their first win of the campaign with a 3-1 win at the Likas Stadium.

It was the hosts who took the lead after 20 minutes thanks to a Rozaimi Abdul Rahman strike, but Liberia international Zah Rahan Krangar fired FELDA level on the stroke of halftime.

Seven minutes into the second half, the visitors took the lead for the first time thanks to an effort from Edward Junior Wilson, who wrapped things up in the 77th minute by adding a second.

Darul Ta’zim II are still looking for their first win after being held to a 1-1 draw at UiTM FC, who were handed a 38th-minute lead by Abdi Kassim Sadallah.

Eight minutes from time, midfielder Azinee Taib equalised for JDT II but they were unable to find a winner in the remainder of the match, and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Negeri Sembilan were unable to make it two wins in a row as they played out a 0-0 draw at PBAPP, while SPA FC claimed their first points for the campaign with a 1-0 triumph over Perlis at the Utama Negeri Stadium.

Monday’s 2014 Malaysia Premier League Results

DRB-Hicom 0-2 Kedah

PDRM 5-1 Penang

UiTM FC 1-1 Darul Ta’zim II

Sabah 1-3 FELDA United

PBAPP 0-0 Negeri Sembilan

Perlis 0-1 SPA FC

Indonesia star Irfan signs for J.League outfit Ventforet

Indonesia international Irfan Bachdim will be playing in the J.League Division 1 in 2014 after signing for Ventforet Kofu from Thai Premier League giants Chonburi.

The move, which was confirmed by the J.League on their official Facebook page, was completed after both player and club agreed to personal terms, with a medical the only thing that has yet to be completed.

The attacker, who was once on the books of Ajax and began his professional career at Eredivisie side Utrecht, moves to the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium after spending the last 12 months in Thailand.

Despite a bright start to life at Chonburi, he was loaned out to Sriracha in the latter parts of the campaign after a couple of injury problems.

However, Irfan has clearly done enough to convince Ventforet manager Hiroshi Jofuku that he has what it takes to contribute to his new club.

And speaking on the eve of his unveiling, the 25-year-old was understandably delighted at the prospect of playing in what many regard as the best league in Asia.

“First of all, I am very happy,” he said. “This is a new step in life and for my career.

“It was always my dream to come to Asia and find my way to a higher stage and now I’ve reached this goal.

“I hope to play as many games as possible and represent Indonesia in Japan, because I know Indonesia has a lot of great players.”

Furthermore, Irfan hopes his move will pave the way for more of his countrymen to ply their trade in the J.League.

“I hope my move will introduce Japanese football to Indonesian players,” he added.

“So hopefully I’m opening doors for them and they might come and follow and play football on a high stage like in Japan.”

Thanh Hoa down Song Lam Nghe An to go top of V.League

Thanh Hoa moved top of the V.League 1 on Saturday after recording a 2-1 win over Song Lam Nghe An at the Vinh Stadium.

The visitors took the lead after 11 minutes when Nguyen Xuan Thanh opened the scoring, before Danny van Bakel doubled their tally two minutes before the break.

SLNA did manage to pull one back in the 76th minute through a Le The Cuong effort, but Thanh Hoa held on for the three points to go top.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Becamex Binh Duong and Than Quang Ninh played out a goalless stalemate at the Go Dau Stadium, while Hai Phong were held to a third consecutive 1-1 draw by QNK Quang Nam.

The visitors were headed for victory after Hoang Dinh Tung put them ahead on the hour mark, but five minutes later, Dinh Thanh Trung scored to earn Quang Nam a share of the spoils.

In Sunday’s action, SHB Da Nang were denied victory at the Chi Lang Stadium as a last-gasp strike earned Dong Nai a 2-2 draw.

Although Nguyen Hai Anh had fired Dong Nai ahead after just five minutes, the hosts pulled level through a Sebastian Gaston Merlo strike in the 25th minute, before Adrian Valentic made it 2-1 eight minutes before halftime.

But with a minute left on the clock, Spanish forward Melquiades Gomez struck his third goal of the campaign to force the draw.

Finally, Hoang Anh Gia Lai produced a stirring fightback to force a 2-2 draw at Dong Tam Long An.

A Gilson Campos penalty in the 13th minute had handed the hosts the lead, before Phan Van Tai Em added a second six minutes before the interval.

But with 18 minutes left on the clock, HAGL kept alive their hopes of getting a result when Timothy Anjembe found the back of the net, before the comeback was completed in injury-time when Nguyen Hoang Helio grabbed the equaliser.

Saturday’s 2014 V.League 1 Results

QNK Quang Nam 1-1 Hai Phong

Song Lam Nghe An 1-2 Thanh Hoa

Becamex Binh Duong 0-0 Than Quang Ninh

Sunday’s 2014 V.League 1 Results

SHB Da Nang 2-2 Dong Nai

Dong Tam Long An 2-2 Hoang Anh Gia Lai

Two in a row for Kelantan; LIONSXII down Selangor

Kelantan maintained their perfect start to the 2014 Malaysia Super League campaign on Saturday after claiming a 1-0 win at Sarawak.

After opening the season with victory over Sime Darby last weekend, the Red Warriors looked set to be denied as Sarawak kept them at bay throughout the 90 minutes.

But in the first minute of injury-time, Badhri Radzi threaded a lovely pass through to Mohammed Ghaddar, who held off Ronny Harun well before crossing to leave Francis Forkey Doe with a simple tap-in for the winner.

Defending champions LIONSXII got their first points of the campaign after a last-gasp winner from Khairul Amri helped them beat Selangor 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The hosts had taken the lead a minute before the break when Shakir Hamzah rose unmarked at the far post to head home, but a draw looked on the cards after Fitri Shazwan Raduwan pulled Selangor level in the 58th minute with a fine header into the far corner.

However, in the fifth minute of injury-time, Shahfiq Ghani whipped in a delightful corner onto the head of Amri, who sent a bullet header past a hapless Farizal Marlias to hand the LIONSXII all three points.

Big-spending Johor Darul Ta’zim were left stunned at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium as they were beaten 1-0 by T-Team.

The only goal of the game came in the 71st minute when Fabio Flor de Azevedo reacted quickest to a loose ball to head home from two yards out.

On Friday, PKNS FC also got on the board with a 1-0 win over ATM after Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh raced through and coolly slotted into the bottom corner to grab a 72nd-minute winner at the Shah Alam Stadium.

Elsewhere, Eliel da Cruz Guardiano headed home a minute from time to help Perak beat Terengganu 1-0, while Sime Darby recorded a 1-0 victory over Pahang thanks to Fahrul Razi Kamaruddin’s 50th-minute strike.

Friday’s 2014 Malaysia Super League Results

PKNS FC 1-0 ATM

Saturday’s 2014 Malaysia Super League Results

LIONSXII 2-1 Selangor

T-Team 1-0 Johor Darul Ta’zim

Perak 1-0 Terengganu

Sarawak 0-1 Kelantan

Sime Darby 1-0 Pahang