PH Azkals outlast Maldives to make AFC Challenge Cup finalsBy Mark Giongco |, Celest Flores-ColinaINQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines—Chris Greatwich struck in extra time as the Philippines outlasted Maldives, 3-2, to make the finals of the AFC Challenge Cup early Wednesday (Manila time) at the National Stadium in Male, Maldives.
One of the players who helped the Azkals spark the rise of football in the country in 2010, Greatwich delivered the clutch goal once again after he came in for Jerry Lucena in the second half.
Phil Younghusband opened the scoring for the Azkals in the 19th minute. The Fil-British striker also kicked off the Filipinos’ attack in the 2-0 win over Turkmenistan in the group stage.
The Fil-Danish Lucena followed it up with his first goal for the Philippines, giving the Azkals a 2-1 lead in the 39th minute.
But it was far from a safe lead for the Filipinos as the home team equalized in the 66th minute on a goal from Assadhulla Abdulla.
Ali Ashfaq led Maldives’ final stand in extra time, but the Azkals managed to hold their ground for the historical victory.
The Azkals and Palestine, which shut out Afghanistan, 2-0, in the semis, will meet in the Finals and dispute the coveted slot for the AFC Asian Cup on Friday.