Philippines come from behind to seal maiden Asian Cup berth

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Philippines have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup for the first time ever after coming from behind to beat Tajikistan 2-1 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

Following a goalless first half, it was Tajikistan who opened the scoring four minutes after the hour mark when Akhtam Nazarov converted from the penalty spot, after Nuriddin Davronov had been felled by Kevin Ingreso inside the area.

However, Ingreso made amends in the 74th minute, finding space inside the box to meet Iain Ramsay’s left-wing cross with a perfectly-placed header into the far corner.

A draw would have been enough to see the Azkals qualify but they were awarded a penalty of their own a minute from time when Patrick Reichelt was hacked down inside the box.

And, in fitting fashion, Philippines captain Phil Younghusband made no mistake in sending Abduazizov Mahkamov the wrong way to seal the win with his 50th international goal.

With the win, Philippines advance to United Arab Emirates 2019 as Group F winners while Nepal will join them as runners-up, regardless of the result of their game against Nepal later on Tuesday evening.

PHILIPPINES: Neil Etheridge, Simone Rota, Carli de Murga, Dennis Villanueva, Daisuke Sato, Manny Ott, Kevin Ingreso, Mike Ott (Patrick Reichelt 59’), Phil Younghusband, Iain Ramsay (Paul Mulders 88’), Misagh Bahadoran (James Younghusband 71’).

TAJIKISTAN: Abduazizov Mahkamov, Iskandar Dzhalilov, Davron Ergashev, Siyovush Asrorov, Akhtam Nazarov, Jahongir Aliev, Amirbek Juraboev (Romish Jalilov 79’), Nuriddin Davronov, Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Jahongir Ergashev, Manuchekhr Dzhalilov.

Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation