The Under-23 squad of the Philippine Azkals could not take advantage of golden chances, falling to host Singapore 0-1 in the 2022 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, Thursday evening at the Jalan Basar Stadium.
Frustrating was the loss as the Philippines went down to last place in Group H as it also suffered a 0-3 blanking at the hands of South Korea last Monday.
By virtue of South Korea’s dominant 6-0 win over Timor Leste, it has assured itself of a place in the Asian Cup. Singapore got four points as it was able to draw Timor Lester last Monday, 2-2.
Singapore still has a chance to advance to the tournament proper next year if it places in the top four among the best second-placed teams.
Glen Kweh broke the deadlock during the 52nd minute as he punched a goal coming off a pass from Danish Azman through Quincy Kammeraad that gave Nazri Nasir’s squad three full points.
“No mincing it, that was way, way below-par performance tonight,” expressed long-time Azkals team manager Dan Palami. “Tonight Singapore just wanted it more.”
The Singaporeans had a pep to their step early with midfielder Joel Chew outpacing the field. Kweh also had a couple of chances early on that were saved by Kameraad.
The cleanest chance the young Azkals came at the 22nd minute when Jordan Emaviwe was assessed a penalty after pulling down Kieran Hayes.
Oliver Bias, Azkals team captain, took the penalty but his attempt hit the crossbar.
In the second half, Ivan Ouano had a couple of good chances that would have knotted the contest
On the other side, Farhan Zulkifli also had a chance to widen the lead but missed.
The Azkals U23 campaign looks to end their campaign on a high note on Sunday against Timor Leste.