BOCAUE, Bulacan – The Philippines left itself with a far tougher task of qualifying from Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup after settling for a scoreless stalemate against 10-man Singapore last night at Philippine
The Azkals rued a missed opportunity to join Thailand in the early lead as they failed to break down a resolute Lions defense, which coped well despite going a man down in the last 35 minutes.
With the defending champion Thais beating a surprisingly tough Indonesian side, 4-2, earlier, the Azkals now face the difficult task of picking up points from their last two matches in the tournament’s Group of Death. Both Philippines and Singapore have a point each.
The Azkals face Indonesia on Tuesday, aware that the Merah Putih are tougher than they were initially billed as shown by their performance against the Thais, who needed two late goals to dispatch them.
“It’s disappointing not to score with all the chances that we had,” said Azkals captain Phil Younghusband. “We have to learn from this match.”
The crowd of 4,339 greeted the final whistle with jeers perhaps directed on the Lions for their incessant time wasting in the second half. But the home side must not escape scrutiny as well with its
inability to find the back of the net.
Stephan Schrock and Pika Minegishi, making his Azkals debut, both wasted gilt-edged chances in a second half, allowing the Lions to survive. Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny also starred, denying Minegishi twice, including from a free header in stoppage.