MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine men’s football team failed to make the finals of the Suzuki Cup for the second time in a row on Wednesday, December 12, after Singapore defeated the Azkals 1-0 in the second leg of the Suzuki Cup 2012 semifinals before a jampacked Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
The only goal of the game came in the 19th minute, after Khairul Amri’s long range shot just outside the box found the left side of the net.
The Philippines entered the second half more spirited after a lackluster first half. The Azkals had consecutive attempts on goal in the latter part of the game, but they could not get through Singapore’s defense.
All the Philippines needed was one goal to equalize. They would have been able to advance to the finals had they scored, because away goals carry more weight in the tournament.
After the highly physical game, head coach Michael Weiss praised the efforts of Singapore and wished them luck.
“Everybody is extremely down,” he said. “We would like to congratulate Singapore and good luck to the finals.”
Weiss expressed his disappointment over the elimination, but said the team would now focus on the AFF Challenge Cup slated for March.
“One team has to go home. Unfortunately it was us,” he said.
The loss came after the first leg, held in Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila, ended in a scoreless draw.
In the first leg of the semis, the Philippines also looked disjointed on offense and were behind Singapore on ball possession and attempts on goal.
This is the second time that the Philippines made it to the semifinals but failed to advance. In 2010, the Philippines was eliminated by Indonesia after losing 1-0 in both legs of the semis.
Singapore will find out on Thursday, September 13 whether they will face defending champion Malaysia or 3-time champions Thailand in the finals of the competition. – Rappler.com