Philippine Azkals hold powerhouse China to 0-0 draw
By Erel Cabatbat
Ranged against a highly-touted and favored opponent, the Philippine Azkals bucked the odds to hammer a 0-0 draw against China in the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Qualifiers at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
With Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge manning the posts, the Philippines refused to wilt under pressure after the visiting team mounted wave after wave of attacks throughout the game.
Familiar tormentor Wu Lei had several chances to put China ahead in the game but thanks to Etheridge and total team effort by the Azkals frustrated the visitors.
The Azkals even had the chance to get the full three points but Angel Guirado missed the goal by just inches when he sent the ball over the bar of an Iain Ramsay assist in the 80th minute.
With the draw, the Azkals halted the Chinese winning run in Group A of the joint qualification.
Ranked 57 spots higher than the Azkals, China was held to its first draw after posting convincing wins in its first two games.
With the draw, the Azkals now have four points and in third spot in the group stage with one win, one draw and a loss record.
Syria jumped to the solo lead with 1-0 win over Guam for a perfect nine points in three outings.