Philippines produced a battling display to claim a creditable 0-0 draw against China PR in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.
Just back in January, the Azkals were making their maiden AFC Asian Cup appearance and came up against the same opponents, where they ultimately fell to a 3-0 defeat.
Nine months on, Philippines showed how far they have come as they earned a point at the Panaad Stadium against a talented China outfit that arguably had more quality than they did back at the Asian Cup, especially with the recent inclusion of Brazil-born striker Elkeson.
While the hosts showed plenty of endeavour, it was the Chinese who always looked the likelier of the two teams to break the deadlock.
But, with Neil Etheridge back between the posts, Philippines were able to hold out as the Cardiff custodian made a series of fine saves to salvage a share of the spoils for his side.
PHILIPPINES: Neil Etheridge, Martin Steuble, Carli de Murga (Luke Woodland 30’), Alvaro Silva, Justin Baas (Amani Aguinaldo 67’), Daisuke Sato, Patrick Reichelt, John-Patrick Strauss (Angel Guirado 78’), Stephan Schrock, Iain Ramsay, Mark Hartmann.
CHINA PR: Yan Junling, Wang Gang, Zhang Linpeng, Zhu Chenjie (Liu Yang 58’), Zheng Zheng, Chi Zhongguo, Hao Junmin, Wu Xi, Wu Lei, Elkeson, Yang Xu (Xie Pengfei 77’).
Photo credit: Philippine Football Federation