The Under-23 squad of the Philippine Azkals started their qualification campaign for the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup on a somber note. They succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of defending champions South Korea, Monday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
The result leaves the Filipinos bottom of Group H although Singapore and Timor-Leste are playing later tonight. On the other hand, South Korea goes top with 3 points.
Following a goalless first period, South Korea finally opened the scoring at the 52nd minute. Defender Lee Kyu-hyuk started the move deep from his team’s half and after a series of combination plays, found himself unmarked. He then headed the ball past Philippines goalkeeper Quincy Kammeraad.
Coach Scott Cooper’s men could only stay behind the ball as their South Korean counterparts were simply too slick and well-conditioned. They not only held possession, but knew where to move and release the pass.
Midfielder Ko Jaehyeon then doubled his nation’s advantage from close range at the 72nd minute when he found himself unmarked inside the Filipinos’ box.
Substitute forward Park Jeong-in then capped off South Korea’s fine display when he headed the ball into the back of the net at the 89th minute to give his country a three-goal cushion just before the final whistle.
It was a fitting reward for South Korea after a dominant display in the opening 45 minutes. Midfielder Goo Boncheol first hit the post off a pass from forward Cho Sangjun. Then Choi Geonju forced a fine stop from Kammeraad.
Cho Sang-jun also struck the post after two shots that went off target. Meanwhile, Choi Geonju had a goal ruled out for offside.
The Philippines hopes to bounce back when it faces host nation Singapore on Thursday with the kickoff time scheduled at 8:00 PM at the same venue.
Philippines XI: Kammeraad (GK), Baas, Perez, Mendoza, Rontini, Winhoffer, Reyes, Bias ©, Gallantes, Ignacio, Rasmussen.
South Korea XI: Lee Gwangyeon (GK), Choi Jun, Lee Kyuhyuk, Lee Sangmin, Kim Jusung, Kwon Hyeokkyu, Choi Geonju, Goo Booncheul ©, Cho Sangjun, Kim Chan, Go Jaehyeon.