Azkals foil Tajiks Rally, keep top spot | Inquirer Sports

Azkals foil Tajiks Rally, keep top spot

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 02:19 AM June 15, 2017

A brace from Javier Patiño helped the Philippine Azkals weather a late Tajikistan uprising for a thrilling 4-3 victory Tuesday night that firmed up their grip of the top spot in Group F of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers at Republican Central Stadium in Dushbane.

Captain Phil Younghusband gave the Philippines the lead with a sublime free kick in the 28th minute, before Patiño scored in the 41st and 48th minutes off two assists from Mike Ott as the Azkals looked on their way to a comfortable victory before 15,000 fans in the Tajik capital.

But Tajikistan struck twice in quick succession with Parvizchon Umarbaev scoring from the spot in the 57th minute off a questionable foul called on Amani Aguinaldo, and Dilshod Vasiev finishing off a quick counter attack four minutes later after Junior Muñoz lost the ball at midfield.

Fil-Japanese leftback Daisuke Sato restored the two-goal cushion for the Azkals with a long range strike with 10 minutes remaining only for Manuchekr Dzaliliov’s late strike off another defensive breakdown giving the Tajiks hope until the end.

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The performance was a far cry from the horror show in Guangzhou where the Azkals absorbed a 1-8 defeat to China in a friendly Tuesday last week. Although the Azkals once again scrambled for most of the match and conceded some cheap goals against the Tajiks, they took their chances expertly with Patiño showing his quality.

“It’s the perfect way to respond,” said midfielder Iain Ramsay, who played the full 90 minutes.

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TAGS: AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, Javier Patino, Phil Younghusband, Philippine Azkals

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