It took only a few minutes for Turkmenistan to remind the Philippines of its quality.
With the Azkals watching from the grandstand, the Turkmen put on a bristling attacking display to overwhelm a lethargic Cambodia side, 7-0, last night at the start of Group E Qualifying of the AFC Challenge Cup at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Turkmenistan’s emphatic victory puts more pressure on the Azkals to match or surpass the scoreline with goal difference coming into play in case the two teams finish tied on points.
As it stands, Turkmenistan already has six points, including the forfeiture win over Brunei. Cambodia and the Philippines both have three points as they were also awarded 3-0 wins for Brunei’s no-show.
Playing before a sparse crowd after the Azkals’ match against Brunei was canceled, the Turkmen systematically broke down the Cambodians with their slick passing and lethal finishing.
Vladimir Bayramov struck twice, while Amanov Arslanmyrat, Berdy Shamuradov, Abylov Guvanch and Batyrov Gurbangeldi contributed a goal each for the Turkmen, who were also guilty of missing chances in the second half.
“Turkeminstan is strong we know that. They have good quality,” said coach Michael Weiss, who watched the match from the VIP Area. “They could have scored more goals in this match.”
Amanov’s opening goal in the seventh minute was aided by a goalkeeping blunder from Sou Yaty, who allowed the Turkmenistan forward’s shot to roll between his legs.