The road to redemption for the Philippine Men’s National Football Team has begun on the right track.
Eager to start their 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup campaign on a high note, the Azkals found a way to break down stubborn Singapore to prevail 1-0 courtesy of a Patrick Reichelt goal, Tuesday night at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The result hands the Philippines 3 points and allows them to keep pace with Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia in Group B.
With the game still goalless after the break, the Azkals took it upon themselves to force more penetration into the Singaporeans’ defense after an opening period that saw possession but no end product.
Singapore goalie Sunny Hassan was forced to make fine stops against shots from Manny Ott and substitute midfielder James Younghusband to keep the Philippines at bay. That was as good as it got for the Azkals as, Stephan Schrock aside, they lacked the pace and creativity to put the ball into the back of the net.
Just when it looked like the Singaporeans would escape with a draw, the Filipinos found a way to end the stalemate. Captain Phil Younghusband combined with fellow forward Patrick Reichelt, who then shot past Hassan in the 78th minute to send the team and the 4,327 fans into frenzy.
Beforehand, though, it was a scrappy first half which saw the Filipinos play against a very scrappy and physical Singapore side. Referee Shuhaizi Shukri handed yellow cards to Singaporean players Shakir Hamzah and Yasir Hanapi for fouls on Luke Woodland and Stephan Schrock. In between, Woodland was replaced by Daisuke Sato due to injury.
The Azkals look to build on this win against Timor Leste on November 17, 8:00 PM, at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Philippines XI: Etheridge (GK), De Murga, Mi. Ott, Woodland, Manu. Ott, P. Younghusband (C), Schrock, Steuble, Mulders, Reichelt, Strauss.
Singapore XI: Sunny (GK), Hamzah, Suzliman, Ramil, Hanapi, Yacob, Harun (C), Ir. Ahmad, Ik. Ahmad, Baharudin, Quak.
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