MANILA, Philippines—Phil Younghusband wouldn’t be denied with another shot on goal.
After several close calls early, the Fil-British striker finally found the back of the net as the Philippines got back at Turkmenistan, 1-0, to top Group E in the Qualifier of the AFC Challenge Cup at the Rizal Memorial Football StadiumTuesday night.
Younghusband struck in the 67th minute after Turkmen defense collapsed, leaving the keeper with little chance to clear the striker’s attempt – which got deflected before going in.
“It was really a hard-fought victory. We needed to be 100% against this aggressive team of Turkmenistan,” said head coach Hans Michael Weiss. “Turkmenistan was the one we needed to beat.”
“We didn’t want to qualify as the best second placed team, we wanted to win the group.”
The Azkals, who advanced to the main tournament in Maldives next year, avenged their 1-2 loss to Turkmenistan last year in the Challenge Cup semifinals.
Younghusband, who spearheaded the Philippines charge in last Monday’s 8-0 win over Cambodia with four goals, had several opportunities early in the match including one where his attempt just got denied by the post with just a minute gone by in the match.
Unfortunately for the Philippines’ top international goal scorer with 33, Younghusband got sent off in the 85th minute after getting booked with his second yellow card.
Chris Greatwich and Rob Gier were also issued with a yellow.
Azkals’ defense – anchored by Fil-Danish Dennis Cagara – also held its ground and made the difference.
Goalkeeper Roland Muller kept a clean sheet for the second consecutive game but not before a scare put up by Turkmenistan, which ranks five spots higher at 140.
Turkmenistan almost pulled one back late before Muller was able to barely beat a Turkmen player to the ball.
Originally posted: 9:38 pm | Tuesday, March 26th, 2013