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AFC: Holtmann worth the wait, lifts Azkals past Mongolia at the death


Gerrit Holtmann had a Philippine Azkals debut to remember.

The German Bundesliga standout struck late to propel the Philippine Azkals towards a 1-0 victory against Mongolia in the third qualifying round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Saturday afternoon, at the MFF Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Coach Thomas Dooley’s men were in danger of experiencing another difficult setback as a draw would have dampened their hopes of qualifying in next year’s big dance.

Holtmann, though, had other ideas. The VFL Bochum star unleashed a fantastic strike at the 90+3 minute to revive the Philippines’ hopes of getting into the Asian Cup.

We created chances but we couldn’t score in the first half. I’m always trying to convince the players that they should play football, play football, don’t get into a long ball,” said Dooley.

Beforehand, the Azkals had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. The referee awarded the Philippines a penalty and Patrick Reichelt stepped up to take it.

However, he saw his attempt easily saved by Mongolian goalkeeper Munkh-Erdene Enkhtaivan. Thankfully, this miss proved to be immaterial at the end of the game.

We got a penalty. We got some great shots from Gerrit. We are happy of course that in the end, we scored the goal and we won,” added Dooley.

The result means that the Azkals take top spot in Group B with four points albeit Palestine and Yemen will clash later today.

This was the second straight loss for Mongolia in this qualification phase, which all but eliminated them from next year’s big dance.

#ReadMore  FIBA: Jericho Cruz, Guam rout Singapore to open Asia Cup Pre-qualis run

Both teams will next play on Tuesday. The Philippines takes on Palestine at 12:30 PM while Mongolia goes up against Yemen at 5:00 PM.

Philippines XI: Etheridge (GK, C), Daniels, Aguinaldo, Tabinas, Ott Manu, Kekkonen, Holtmann, Ott Mi, Reyes, Reichelt, Marañon.

Mongolia XI: Munkh-Erdene (GK), Munkh-Orgil, Bayartsengel, Bat-Orgil, Ganbayar, Munkh-Erdene, Tsend-Ayush ©, Otgonbayar, Baljinnyan, Namsrai, Bilguun.

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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