Azkals bow to Vietnam in Suzuki Cup semis
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals failed to capitalize on a home pitch advantage as they fell to Vietnam, 1-2, in the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinals on Sunday, December 2, at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod.
Vietnam leads the home-and-away semifinals series and the Philippines will need another "Miracle in Hanoi" and the same result of at least 2-0 in the second leg to advance to its first Suzuki Cup Finals.
In the 48th minute, Nguyen Trong Hoang set up Phan Van Duc, who went one-on-one with Michael Falkesgaard and fired a shot to the back of the net.
The Azkals failed to finish in the last third despite getting good attacking spells. The entry of "Vietnam's Messi" Nguyen Cong Phuong in the 81st minute also proved to be a major threat as he came close to widening the score gap.
Even if head coach Sven-Göran Eriksson took the result positively, Patrick Reichelt – who fired the Azkals' first ever goal in the Suzuki Cup semis – expressed his frustration in the second half.
"It was a disappointment. This is our third time in the Suzuki Cup semifinal, I don’t want to go out of the semifinal [again]," said Reichelt.
"I think we prepared well [but] attitude was missing."
After Nguyen Anh Duc opened the scoreline in the 11th minute with a header that bounced into the back of the net, Reichelt equalized within the second minute of added time to the first half.
The Vietnamese brought in their hard-nose defense throughout the game, but Reichelt managed to break free and connected a cross from Phil Younghusband, as Vietnam concedes its first goal in the tournament.
45+2' GOAL! Philippines are back on level terms! 1-1!— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) December 2, 2018
What a ball from Phil Younghusband from the wing which is turned in by Patrick Reichelt. This is the first goal Vietnam have conceded in this tournament! #PHIvVIE #AFFSuzukiCup18 #WearYourPride pic.twitter.com/kpo7km4tlU
Both teams head to Hanoi for the second leg on Thursday, December 6. – Rappler.com