Thu 6 May 2021

Azkals return to AFF Suzuki Cup semis after goalless draw vs Indonesia

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After missing the semifinals bus in the 2016 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, the Philippine men’s national football team barges into this year’s final four after ending their group stage campaign, 0-0, against host Indonesia in Jakarta on Sunday.

Playing without ace player Phil Younghusband for almost the entire match due to a busted head, the Azkals had four shots on goal—all in the second half—but were gallantly deflected by goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa.

The Indonesians, meanwhile, were cat-quick on the break but were always stymied by the Azkals’ backline, with crucial stops from Carli de Murga and Alvaro Silva.

With the draw, the Azkals placed second in Group B with two wins and two draws.

Now under the helm of two-time World Cup quarterfinalist coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Azkals won against Singapore, 1-0, and Timor-Leste, 3-2, before drawing against defending champions and group leaders Thailand, 1-1, and Indonesia.

They will next meet archrival Vietnam in the home-and-away semifinals on December 2 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.

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