Asian football

Azkals U23 winless in Asian Cup qualifiers with last-minute loss to Timor Leste

Juro Morilla
Azkals U23 winless in Asian Cup qualifiers with last-minute loss to Timor Leste

WINLESS. The young Azkals finish at the bottom of Group H in the Asian Cup qualifiers.

Philippine Football Federation

Timorese Zenivio Conceicao Mota scores an added time goal to steal a win over Philippines

The Philippine Azkals U23 ended their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Asian Cup 2022 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Timor Leste on Sunday, October 31, at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

Zenivio Conceicao Mota drilled in the only goal of the match right before the added time was announced. The beautiful team goal started with Filomeno Junior passing to Frangcyatma Alves, who immediately played a quick one-two with one of his teammates.

Alves breezed past Paolo Perez, shook off Christian Rontini, and then released a well-timed pass to Mota just before Justine Baas could close him down. Mota controlled the ball with his first touch then smashed it at the bottom left corner with his second touch.

The victory put Timor Leste at third in Group H with 4 points and a -8 goal difference. The Philippines, meanwhile, stayed at the bottom with zero points and a -5 goal difference. Both teams will miss out on the Asian Cup in Uzbekistan next year. 

After keeping the scoreline as low as possible in the previous match against Singapore, Azkals goalkeeper Quincy Kammeraad was called into action four minutes in as he rushed out to deny a goal-scoring opportunity, but he ventured outside of his box too much to track down the rebound of his initial block and his action almost led to a goal.

Timor Leste saw the opportunity to try an audacious shot near the left corner, but the long range effort was cleared out by Azkals center-back Baas. 

Almost two minutes after the brilliant clearance of Baas, the Azkals had a chance to break the deadlock with a quick counter-attack. Jens Rasmussen connected with a cross, but his looping header was easily saved by Aderito Raul Fernandes, Timor Leste’s starting goalkeeper.

Rasmussen had a better attempt at the 25th minute after receiving a good pass from team captain Oliver Bias, but his on-target left-footed shot was denied by the diving Fernandes and was eventually cleared away by defender Joao Panji.

The match was then temporarily halted around the 30-minute mark as the emergency siren inside the stadium was triggered due to strong lightning. After almost an hour of waiting, the match finally resumed to finish the first half, but both sides still failed to find the back of the net.

Rasmussen started the second half with two attempts to try and give the Philippines its first goal of the qualifying tournament. The first one was a header from a David Setters cross, but it just sailed out for a goal kick. The second attempt came at the 56th minute as Rasmussen tried to hit the far corner of the goal with a free kick, but it went too high as the score remained at 0-0.

The Philippines continued to push for a goal as Jethro Borlongan, Sandro Reyes, and Rasmussen all had their chances in the latter stages of the second half, but Timor Leste’s defense along with substitute goalkeeper Georgino Da Silva stood tall to keep the Philippines winless after three games. –