Azkals concede late goal, fall to Yemen
The dream virtually ended at home.
The Philippines conceded a late goal and succumbed to Yemen, 1-0, in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on Thursday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Needing a sweep of all three of their remaining matches to at least get a chance to advance to the third round, the Azkals blew their chance after Ahmed Al-Sarori beat two defenders and sent the ball past Roland Muller at the 83rd minute.
The Philippines could have scored a breakthrough goal early in the second half, but Yemeni goalkeeper Mohammed Ebrahim Ali Ayash was a thorn in the Philippines’ side.
He first saved a Jerry Lucena shot from a Manny Ott free kick at the 57th minute, and deflected Martin Steuble’s second attempt coming from a pass from Kevin Ingreso at the 67th minute. He also easily caught Stephan Schrock’s free kick late in injury time.
It was the first win for Yemen in the group stages, as the war-torn nation broke the hearts of Filipino hopefuls with the upset.
With the loss, the Philippines could only hope that stars would align to its favor to at least finish second in the group.
However, it will be a tall task as the Azkals wrap up their Group H schedule on March next year against group leaders, where they will go up against Uzbekistan in Tashkent and North Korea here at home.
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