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Azkals, U-22 fall in return to action

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By Kevin Estrada

Friday was not a kind day for the Philippines in international football as both its senior and youth teams lost their respective matches.

Both the Azkals and their U-22 counterparts both fall to China and Singapore, respectively as their preparations for both the World Cup qualifiers and the Southeast Asian Games hit a snag.

In Guangzhou, Marcello Lippi’s men just ran rings around the listless men of Scott Cooper for a 2-0 blanking, in which the Azkals finished with just ten men.

Wu Xi put the Chinese ahead just ten minutes in, with Zhang Xizhe doubled their lead in the 54th minute in a jampacked Tianhe Stadium, as Daisuke Sato’s dismissal fifteen minutes later capped off a miserable day for the ASEAN side.

In the Lion City, Fandi Ahmad’s Young Lions blanked the U22 side for a 3-0 win to advance to the Merlion Cup final.

After an Amirulhadi Ashraf’s 26th minute opener give Singapore a close half-time lead, Fandi’s sons finished off Anto Gonzales’ men in the second half to book their date with Thailand on Sunday.

Skipper Irfan doubled their lead in the 62nd minute with a header, while substitute Ikhsan finished it off on the counter five minutes later.

Jarvey Gayoso’s 9th minute chance was the closest the U22 Azkals got in the entire match, as they were relegated to the third-place tie against Indonesia.