MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals ended their 2019 Asian Cup campaign after dropping their final group stage game against Kyrgyzstan, 3-1, as Vitalig Lux scored a hat-trick on Wednesday, January 16, at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
But even if the Philippine men's football team crashed to the bottom of Group C, Stephan Schrock netted in Philippines' first ever Asian Cup goal in the 80th minute.
Kyrgyzstan is still on track of advancing to the Round of 16 after finishing third in the group.
In the 24th minute, Vitalig Lux sent the Nationals into the doldrums when his shot found the back of the net thanks to an assist from Akhlidin Israilov.
Lux scored his second goal and doubled the lead in the 51st minute with an angled finish from Bekzhan Sagynbaev's assist in the center of the box.
The Kyrgyzstan striker sealed the win with a hat-trick as he capitalized on a rebound off the post in the 77th minute.
The entry of the Younghusband brothers added more firepower to the Azkals as Javier Patiño and Patrick Reichelt had chances to cut the deficit towards the end of the match.
Kyrgyzstan had a strong start to the match as it held most of the possession as the Philippines' backline had an off-day.
In the first half, the Azkals never established a clear threat in the attacking third and was running out of ideas on how to create chances. – Rappler.com
The Philippine Men’s National Team may have had a forgettable outing against China PR last Friday, but the team still hopes to advance to the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
After a formidable display against Korea Republic in the first game, the Azkals were given a reality check on the toughness of the tournament after losing to China, 3-0.
“This is the Asian Cup. These are the best teams in Asia, the best players in Asia. They’re the difference between winning and losing a game when you’ve got quality like that,” said Phil Younghusband.
Head coach Sven Goran Eriksson remained steadfast on the team’s chances of qualifying despite losing their first two matches.
“We have shown that we can play football,” said Eriksson. “We are not going home yet, and we will see what happens in the last group stage game (vs Kyrgyz Republic).”
The Philippines currently sit at the bottom of Group C with only one match left in the group stages. A win over the Kyrgyz Republic on Wednesday 16 January 2019 at the Rashid Stadium might propel the team to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third placed teams at the end of the group stages.
“We still have the Kyrgyzstan game. If we can get the three points there, then we have every chance of qualifying to the next round,” added Younghusband.
“We really want to advance,” echoed Stephan Schröck. “We have to beat Kyrgyz Republic to have that chance.”
DUBAI—There is no guarantee that a victory in its last group match will be enough for the Philippines to reach the next round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
But a strong finish can cap what has been a memorable debut so far for the Azkals here.
Currently in last place in Group C, the Azkals face Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday night at Rashid Stadium with both teams needing victories to stand a chance of progressing to the round of 16.
Making it to the next round as one of the top two teams in the group is already out of the equation for the Azkals, but qualifying as one of the four best third-placed squads is a scenario that is still alive.
The Azkals narrowly lost to South Korea, 0-1, in their opening match on Jan. 7, before falling to China, 0-3, at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match against China drew 16,000 fans, so far the most attended game in the tournament that did not involve host United Arab Emirates.
“The Kyrgyzstan match will be like a final for us,” said captain Stephan Schrock. “We have to finish with a really good performance, taking three points—and really hope for the best.”
The Philippines is one of eight winless countries in the tournament after all 24 teams have played their two matches. A draw will not be enough for both Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines to reach the next round.
Abu Dhabi: Friendship will take a backseat when Marcello Lippi and Sven-Goran Eriksson lock horns in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 on Friday.
It is a friendship that started in the 1980s but China PR head coach Lippi and his Philippines counterpart Eriksson are both on a mission to ensure their teams enjoy a successful AFC Asian Cup.
China PR are on a better footing, coming from behind to defeat Kyrgyz Republic 2-1 on Matchday One while The Azkals were unfortunate to suffer a 1-0 defeat after a plucky display against Korea Republic.
Eriksson said Lippi was a good friend with whom he has played numerous matches against - in Italy and China PR, in a friendship that has seen many get-togethers.
"I respect him and he is a good friend but tomorrow at 5.30pm, our friendship will have to take a backseat for a while. I wish him well but not for tomorrow," said Eriksson, who has been tasked by the Philippines to ensure their maiden appearance in the AFC Asian Cup Finals is one to remember.
China PR will be tough opponents, especially as the last meeting between the two sides ended in an 8-1 win for the two-time AFC Asian Cup runners-up.
"I hope we don't lose 8-1 this time as that would be a disaster. We won't lose 8-1 because I am sure that we will give China PR a very good fight.
"The players are very excited about the match, especially after our performance against Korea Republic. This is a chance for them to prove themselves again.
"This generation of players have so much promise and I am sure that in 10 years, football will enjoy more importance in the Philippines," added Eriksson.
The former England manager's stint ends after the AFC Asian Cup and Eriksson said he has enjoyed his tenure.
"It is a short stint but I liked the challenge. The players have been great and we have a job to do and we will do it."
Having coached Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League, Eriksson has insight on the China team but the Swede said it won't be much of an advantage.
"Yes, I know Chinese football and I know three of the players in the squad but in today's game, there are no secrets. Lippi will know about us and we will know about China PR."
Lippi, who is also set to leave at the end of the AFC Asian Cup, said he is looking forward to facing an Eriksson-led Philippines.
"We have known each other since I was with Juventus and it will be great to face another team led by him. It will be a challenge but I believe in my team and we are confident of getting the job done.
"Three more points will seal our place in the knockout stage and the players are determined to improve on their performance against Kyrgyz Republic."
Good news for China PR is that striker Wu Lei is likely to shrug off the injury he is nursing as Lippi urged his players to play with the intensity they showed in the second half against Kyrgyz Republic.
"Philippines play a European style of football as they are very physical and strong. We have to match their style of play and I have been emphasising this to the players."