MANILA -- Despite parading a young line-up, Indonesia was able to hold the Philippines to a draw, 2-2, in a rainy friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on Tuesday night.
After a sluggish first half, both teams took turns in logging goals as veteran Indonesian striker Patrick Wanggai rose to smash in a header in the 58th minute from across by midfielder Oktovianus Maniani.
But the Filipinos answered back with mainstay James Younghusband slotted home the country’s first goal in the 59th minute. Two minutes later, Dutch-born skipper Irfan Bachdim capitalized on the Filipinos’ error to gain the upperhand.
MANILA. The Philippines and Indonesia engaged in a fight-marred football match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The game ended in a draw, 2-2. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)
Behind the continuous cheers of some 6,000 fans, Azkals’ ace striker Phil Younghusband delivered a powerful goal into the back of the net in the 84th minute to tie the count.
In between, the Azkals and the Merah Putih (red and white) were nearly engaged in a scuffle, which led to the ejection of team captains Chieffy Caligdong and Bachdim and Filipino Manny Ott after getting booked for red cards.
“I think we showed great character especially in the end even if we are one man down. We really played with heart and that has been seen in each of the players,” James told reporters.
He said the team will use the experience for the upcoming Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, where they are going to face the Indonesians again.
“We can keep our head up and be proud after the draw. Also, we were able to make friends and I’m hoping to meet them again,” Bachdim said.
It was the first meeting between the two Southeast Asian squads since the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Denied of a home game due to poor facilities in the Philippines, Merah Putih came through with an aggregate 2-0 score against the Azkals before a hostile crowd at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta in mid-December 2010.
It was the country’s best finish in the 14-year history of the biennial Southeast Asian football tournament while Indonesia bowed to Malaysia in the championship by an aggregate score of 4-2.
Incidentally, the Azkals drew the Malaysians in Selangor, 0-0, in a friendly encounter last June 1.
The Philippines will cap its three-nation friendly games at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City on Independence Day (June 12), where they will tangle with lowly Guam. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)