A choke job from the penalty area and a young man-cobra helped Singapore depose the Philippine men’s under-23 football team, 1-0, Thursday evening in Group H of the 2022 AFC Under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers in Singapore.
The three-time Southeast Asian bronze medalists found an emerging superstar in 21-year-old Glenn Kweh, who, after missing acrobatic strikes in the first half, wriggled his way past heavy traffic in the right wing in snake-like fashion for a 22-yard strike from center field.
The sensational goal at the 51st minute proved to be the dagger on the Young Azkals heart as the Filipinos could no longer muster a decent shot on goal that even a point-blank counterattack by Jens Rasmussen at the 70th minute went wide.
But the dagger was hoisted by the Young Azkals themselves when Oliver Bias, a young stalwart in the senior Azkals, muffed a penalty kick at the 22nd minute, hitting the top left crossbar.
The penalty was awarded after Singaporean defender Jordan Emaviwe fouled Kieran Hayes inside the box.The loss eliminated Young Azkals from contention for a first-ever Under-23 Asian Cup finals as they have dropped their second match in the group. The loss eliminated the Young Azkals from contention for a first-ever Under-23 Asian Cup finals as they have dropped their second match in the group.
The Young Lions, meanwhile, are still undefeated and stay in contention.
A monumental upset against Olympic squad South Korea on Sunday will book a guaranteed ticket to Uzbekistan next year. As for the Young Azkals, they will play an also-ran Timor-Leste squad in the first game.
A draw or loss would risk their chance as only the top four of the ten group runners-up will advance to the Asian Cup finals. As of today, Singapore is currently the fourth best group runner-up.
Earlier Thursday, the Philippine women’s national football team was drawn to Group B of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup finals in India.
The Malditas are grouped with reigning runner-up Australia Matildas, 2019 World Cup finalist Thailand, and Indonesia.
Based on world rankings and previous performances, the Malditas are projected at third place in Group B.
The Malditas though have been recently boosted with the hiring of ex-Matildas coach Alen Stajcic and the acquisition of Filipina-American star forward Chandler McDaniel.
Japan WE League standouts Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quezada are also expected to join their old squad.