By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Having seen Group E rivals Turkmenistan rack up a commanding 7-0 win over the Cambodians on Friday, the Azkals entered the game knowing they would need to match that in order to enhance their prospects of finishing top and qualifying straight for the competition.
However, they went one better on Sunday by putting eight goals past their fellow Southeast Asians, with Loyola Meralco Sparks striker Phil Younghusband netting an impressive four times.
But despite the convincing nature of the victory, it actually took Philippines until the 24th minute before they opened the scoring; Younghusband controlling a Carli de Murga cross with his knee before hooking a volley into the back of the net.
Right on the half-hour mark, the 25-year-old doubled his tally when he picked up the ball from Paul Mulders and curled home a delightful effort, before completing his hat-trick three minutes later when he met another inviting delivery from De Murga and headed past Samreth Seiha.
Younghusband then turned provider a minute before the break when his left-wing cross was tapped home by Azkals debutant Javier Patino but the game was then halted for the first time due to a floodlight failure.
A minute into the second half, after the lights had been turned back on, Schrock got in on the act when his left-wing cross took a wicked deflection and made its way into the far corner, before Patino, who recently signed for Thai Premier League giants Buriram United, made it 6-0 in the 57th minute when he received the ball from an Angel Guirado flick-on header and poked a shot into the corner, despite being surrounded by the entire opposition defence.
Play was then halted for a second time after the referee deemed the conditions unplayable due to the increasingly heavy Manila rain, and there were fears the match could be abandoned.
Thankfully for the hosts, the weather eased up after the 30-minute delay but they found themselves down to ten men when Paul Mulders was issued his marching orders for kicking the ball at Khim Borey.
Nonetheless, the numerical deficit failed to cause Philippines any problems and Younghusband grabbed his fourth two minutes from time with a simple tap-in at the far post, before De Murga grabbed their 8th goal in injury-time when he pounced to tap in on the rebound after Seiha had spilled a shot into his path.
Philippines will now meet Turkmenistan on Tuesday with both sides battling out for top spot, although given the two best second-placed teams in each group also qualify for the Challenge Cup, even a narrow defeat for either team would still see both through.
Image courtesy of WSG