MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals continued their campaign in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifiers with a 2-2 draw against Yemen on Tuesday, September 5 at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, Philippines.
Phil Younghusband captained his team to level the scoreline (1-1) in the 29th minute, as Yemen's Mudir Al Radaei made the first goal of the game two minutes earlier.
Abdulwasea Al Matari gave Yemen the advantage (2-1) 10 minutes into the second half. In the 71st minute, James Younghusband contributed a goal that sealed the score at 2-2.
The Philippines entered the match sitting on top of Group F with 6 points as they were able to garner two wins from Nepal and Tajikistan. However, Yemen trailed next to the Philippines tallying one win and one draw with 4 points in the league.
The Azkals also suffered a shortage of players and a lot of changes within their lineup for this match. Consistent goal scorer Javier Patiño and defender Amani Aguinaldo had to sit out due to injuries. Daisuke Sato, on the other hand, missed this game due to an accumulation of cards.
The Azkals pressed Yemen in the first 10 minutes of the game, with Kevin Ingreso and Captain Phil Younghusband firing unsuccessful attempts. However, Yemen started to fend off the Azkals' control and Yemen defender Mudir Al Radaei made the first goal in the 27th minute via diving header that trickled past Neil Etheridge's save attempt.
Two minutes later, Phil Younghusband made a captain's goal with a stunning free kick from out of the box. This goal not only equalized the score to 1-1, but it was also the captain's 47th international goal.
Before the end of the first half, the Misagh Bahadoran came close to scoring a go-ahead attempt in the 42nd minute, but Al Radaei cleared it in time.
The Azkals created another chance early in the second half, when Iain Ramsay's on-target shot at an open goal was blocked by Ala Addin Mahdi. Four minutes later, Al Matari dribbled past Etheridge who was out in the penalty area, and the Yemeni slid in a goal to give the advantage to Yemen, 2-1.
In the 71st minute, James Younghusband's header of the set piece saved the Philippines from a loss and it ultimately sealed the final score, 2-2. The Filipino forwards still attempted to garner the advantage towards the end, but they failed to crack Yemen's defense.
The two teams will play once again on October 10 in Qatar.
The Azkals remain on top of Group F despited the draw with a 2-1-0 record, 7 points and a +4 goal difference. – 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.