Mike Ott’s equalizer allows Azkals to stay on top of Group F

Beatrice Go
Mike Ott’s equalizer allows Azkals to stay on top of Group F
The Azkals leave a minimum of two points clear of both Yemen and Tajikistan in the standings

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals once again drew with Yemen, 1-1, in the second leg of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers on Wednesday, October 11 (Manila Time) at the Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

After a scoreless first half, Tawfik Ali reacted quickly in the 63rd minute and scored the goal while his teammates pinned down the Azkal defenders. 

As hope was dying from the Philippines’ side, Mike Ott came up big for the equalizer by connecting a pass from Phil Younghusband in the 89th minute. 

The Azkals remain on top of Group F despite the draw with a 2-2-0 record, 8 points and a +4 goal difference.

The Philippine Azkals saw the return of defender Daisuke Sato after serving his suspension in the first leg against Yemen due to accumulation of yellow cards. Taking the leftback position, Sato’s heroics provided the needed energy of the Philippine back 4 to survive the Yemen press. 

However, the Azkals were missing the services of midfielder Manny Ott due to injury. Ott’s presence has been vital in unclogging the midfield and creating chances for the Azkals’ front. 

The Azkals had a good chance of scoring in the first 10 minutes of the game, but the shots from Mike Ott and Sato went off-target.

The Yemeni then gained control of the rest of the first half, as their lethal frontline created chances for themselves that challenged Azkals keeper Neil Etheridge. Etheridge made a crucial save on Abdulwasea Al-Matari’s free kick in the 19th minute, as the Yemeni was fouled by Kevin Ingreso. 

The greatest chance of the first half came in the 41st minute when Ala Mohammed Abdullah Al Sasi fired an on-target shot that was denied by the bar. Etheridge quickly recovered to deflect a putback attempt by the Yemeni. – Rappler.com

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.