| ILOILO CITY (17 May 2008) – Philippines took a step closer to qualifying for the main draw of the AFC Challenge Cup when they held Tajikistan 0-0 in the game which was played at the Iloilo Sports Complex.
The hosts had earlier scored a 1-0 win over Brunei in their first game of the qualifying campaign.
Playing for the entire match with just 10 men – after defender Jason Cordova was red carded in the 21st minute for punching Tajikistan’s forward Khakimov Numondzhon – Philippines stayed focus and prevented the visiting side from going forward.
Head coach Norman Fegidero was quick to adjust a new gameplan and pulled Phil Greatwich from midfield to take over the place of Cordova.
“The Red card woke us up. Instead of faltering, we become united and adjusted our defence. If only we were complete we could have beaten those guys anywhere, anytime,” said captain Ali Borromeo afterwards.
Added Fegidero: “It was a good result. We will try to score as many goals as we can against Bhutan on Saturday in Barotac to qualify.”
The Azkals need to score more goals against Bhutan to keep their hopes of
Philippines’ best chance in the game came from Philip Younghusband when he broke off the Tajik’s defence but his right foot lob went flying above the crossbar.
Recently included Neil Etheridge was flawless between the posts, saving shots after shots one of which was a one-on-one with a Tajik striker in the dying minutes of the game.