Azkals vs Thailand ends in scoreless draw
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine national football team were held to a nil-nil draw with Thailand in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final clash at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday, December 6.
Despite not winning, the Philippines managed to snap a 42-year losing streak to Thailand that stretched 14 games.
The second leg of the semifinals meeting is set to take place on December 10 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Azkals immediately took possession from the start of the match but their chance was swiftly defended by the tough defense of the War Elephants.
On the other end, Thailand pounded the defense of the Filipino booters by showing of their smooth passing to create chances and startle the home squad, forcing the Azkals’ back-line to commit mistakes.
Midway through the opening half, the Azkals found their offensive rhythm and finally broke their silence after 30 minutes of play as Phil Younghusband took a shot from beyond the box but it went straight to the keeper.
A steal by Misagh Bahadoran during the dying minutes of the opening half caused Tanaboon Kesarat to commit a handball which resulted in a free kick for the men of Manila.
P. Younghusband sent the free kick straight to the goal of Thailand but an acrobatic tap from goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan prevented the ball from going in.
Meanwhile, Thailand came out of the half-time break more aggressive, dominating possession in the opening minutes of the second half.
Several more attacks from the opposing teams occurred during the greater part of the remaining half of the match but still no goal was coverted from either squad.
The War Elephants took a severe blow to their game plan as Adisak Kraisorn was sent off due to a very physical tackle that took down young defender Amani Aguinaldo.
As the game continued, the thunderous cheers of the large home crowd in attendance energized the Azkals for a last minute push but their last gasp to put even just a solitary goal in the scoreboard failed to transpire as no goal was tallied for the entirety of the match.
The Philippines managed to win the battle of possession 55%-45% while having more shots on target, 3 to 1.
The other semifinal matchup between Malaysia and Vietnam kicks off Sunday, December 7 in Malaysia.