Philippine Azkals bow to Vietnam Golden Dragons, 2-1
By Erel Cabatbat
The Philippine Azkals finally scored a goal for the first time in the semifinals of the Suzuki Cup.
The Philippines likewise is the first team to score a goal against Vietnam in the 2018 Suzuki Cup.
It was just too bad, however, that the Golden Dragons racked one more goal against the home team in the first leg of the final 4 pairing between the Philippines and Vietnam at Pana-ad Stadium and Leisure Park in Bacolod City.
Nguyen Anh Duc gave the early lead for Vietnam pouncing on an opportunity in the 12th minute. His looping header caught Azkals’ keeper Michael Falkesgaard flat footed.
The Azkals made the equalizer courtesy of Patrick Reichelt off an assist by team captain Phil Younghusband before the halftime whistle blew in stoppage time.
Despite the breakthrough goal, the Azkals failed to capitalize in the second half.
Instead it was Vietnam which made the most of another opportunity just three minutes in final half.
Phan Van Duc latched on the ball on top of the box then cooly beat Azkals’ keeper Michael Falkesgaard to regain the lead for Vietnam.
The two sides will meet again on December 6 in Hanoi for the second leg.
The Azkals will face the daunting task of overcoming two away goals and playing against a packed and hostile crowd.