BANGKOK (27 Nov 2012) – Emilio Caligdong casts off his earlier insipid performance in the first match of the AFF Suzuki Cup three days ago to score the winner against Vietnam in a crucial tie of Group A here at the Rajamangala Stadium tonight.
The 27-year-old scored the only goal of the game five minutes to the end to give the Philippines their first three points in the competition following their loss to hosts Thailand in their first tie.
Incidentally, the win was their second over Vietnam in two years after they created history when they beat the 2008 ASEAN champions in Hanoi.
“We withstood their power play and in the first part of the game, we had to be a lot more defensive and relied on the counter-attacks,” said Michael Weiss, the chief coach of the Philippines.
“With the win, we are back in the race and now we just need to beat Myanmar and we are in the semi-finals.”
While the Philippines failed to pick up any points from their first group game, for Vietnam they were anxious to put their campaign on track following their 1-1 draw against Myanmar.
With Le Cong Vinh leading the attack, the foraging runs of Pham Thanh Luong just could not break through the Philippines defence marshalled by Juan Luis Guirado and Robert Gier.
The game was restricted at the centre of the park for much of the first half although the Phillipines almost found the back of the net in the 12th minute had not Philip Younghusband not slipped up.
The game picked up a notch into the second half but again Philip came short while Vietnam tried to put more pace into the game. Le Tan Tai blasted in from 25metres out while another effort from Philip saw Philippines keeper Eduard Sacapano equal to the task.
But five minutes to the end, some lax defending saw substitute Caligdong crashing in from the left to send in the ball to the far post beyond the reach of 2008 Player of the Tournament Duong Hong Son.
Two minutes later, Vietnam almost grabbed the equaliser but Tan Tai’s effort came off under the cross bar instead.
“I am the coach of this team so I take responsibility for the loss tonight,” said Phan Thanh Hung, the chief coach of Vietnam. “It was our worst match since I took over this team.”
Pix by Thananuwat Srirasant (World Sport Group)