BACOLOD CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine Azkals rallied back from a goal down with a scrappy yet crucial finish by Jovin Bedic in the 80th minute to draw Thailand, 1-1, on Wednesday, November 21, in the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup at Pana-ad Park and Stadium.
Bedic fired a shot that hit the woodwork then found the back of the net for his second international goal for the Philippines.
"You never know, I didn’t know what would happen if I put him in. I’ve seen him training and I’ve seen him training on video, and he’s a good player, he made things happen," said Azkals head coach Sven-Göran Eriksson.
"In the camp, he was doing well, he was physically strong, so I’m very happy that he scored the goal and I’m happy and everyone is."
The Azkals were searching for the equalizer after powerhouse team Thailand tightened its defense after a lackluster first half which resulted to Supachai Chaided capitalizing on a counterattack as he dribbled past the undermanned Philippine defense to fire a shot in the 61st minute.
The Philippines and Thailand tally 7 points apiece to pace Group B of the Suzuki Cup.
In their last group stage match against Indonesia, on Sunday, November 25, 8pm, the Azkals will only need at least a draw to advance to the semifinals.
The Philippine men’s football team was able to bounce back from its lackluster defensive play against Timor Leste with more stability against the Thais' lethal offense.
Filipino-Spaniard Alvaro Silva, who was also finally able to suit up for the Azkals, became a crucial reinforcement at the central defense.
"Alvaro Silva is a fantastic defender. And I think that he can play in any level even in Europe," praised Eriksson.
"I’m sure about that. He is a clever man taking good positions, very good header and he’s a little quick, he has pace and he is important, very important."
Despite the improvements in the defensive end, the Azkals still failed to maximize their possesions on the ball which resulted to a goalless first half. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine 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.