AFF SUZUKI CUP 2018 campaign ends early for the Philippines.
December 7, 2018
Philippines Azkals visited Hanoi for their 2nd leg semi-finals fixture against Vietnam knowing that a similar result against the Vietnamese in the same stadium back in 2010 would take the national team to the finals of the said tournament for the very first time.
Vietnam only conceded 1 goal before this fixture throughout the competition and that was also against the Azkals in their first leg fixture of the semi-finals. Vietnam has made it clear that their defense will not allow anyone to penetrate easily. The Golden Dragons have kept 4 clean sheets before the semi-finals and it was evident that the goal of the Azkals had to be well-played for them to break the deadlock.
In the first leg of the semis, Vietnam travelled to Bacolod and got a 2-1 victory against the Azkals. In doing so, they got the away goal advantage that boosted their morale heading into the 2nd leg fixture back home in Hanoi.
Vietnam’s defensive formation kept the Azkals at bay while using their wing-backs to widen the play and threaten the defense of the Azkals on counter-attacks.
As much as the Philippines wanted to score 2 goals, the side just needed better attacking efforts and options as Phil Younghusband couldn’t do it all alone up top with the massive defensive tactics of Park Hang Seo, which proved to be effective against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side.
Nevertheless, James Younghusband scored in the 89th minute during his 100th cap for the national team despite losing the match and the chance to reach the AFF SUZUKI CUP finals for the very first time. He gave his side a boost although it was a little too late as the scoreline was already 4-2 in aggregate, which meant that the Azkals still needed to score 2 more goals to reach the finals.
The Azkals will now look to focus on their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup with their first fixture to be played on the 7th of January against South Korea followed by matches against China and Kyrgyzstan on the 11th and 16th respectively.