MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals failed to seal an outright berth to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup due to a 0-0 draw in their penultimate match vs Nepal on Tuesday, November 14, at the Anfa Complex in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Azkals have one more chance to qualify into the Asian Cup when they face Tajikistan in their last match of the qualifiers on March 27, 2018, tentatively at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
Playing at a high-altitude location under 21°C weather, the Azkals attacking third had a difficult time converting their shots in the first half, despite taking control of the midfield.
In the 34th minute, Kurt Dizon fired a shot that was deflected by Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu. Mike Ott caught the rebound but failed to control the ball, resulting in a save by Kiran.
At the half, the Azkals had a total of 5 shots but only Dizon’s 34th minute out-of-the-box attempt was on-target.
Both sides piled pressure on each other in the second half. The Azkals’ biggest chances came in between the 74th and 76th minutes, when Phil Younghusband nabbed back-to-back corner kicks.
In the Azkals’ last sequence (90+3′), goalkeeper Neil Etheridge took a free kick at the halfline which connected to Carli de Murga, but the latter’s header hit the woodwork.
The Philippines continues to sit on top of Group F with 9 points and a +4 goal difference, while Nepal remains at the bottom with 2 points and a -7 goal difference.
Yemen will face Tajikistan later in the day, which will determine the current standings of Group F before their last set of matches. A win by Yemen will allow them to share top seed with the Philippines. – Rappler.com
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