Ramsay, Strauss lift Azkals past Maldives
By Erel Cabatbat
Two second half goals by Iain Ramsay and John Patrick Strauss were enough to give the Philippine Azkals a crucial 2-1 away win over Maldives in Male in the second round of the joint World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023.
With the home side’s defense holding up in the first half half, the Azkals found the much needed breakthrough when Ramsay found the back of the net in the 52nd minute.
Sixteen minutes later, Strauss doubled the lead after near goals by Luke Woodland and Patrick Reichelt. Strauss slotted home the Azkals second goal goal to make a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
Maldives tried to mount a big comeback later in the game but Neil Etheridge came up big to protect the Azkals’ lead.
Hassan Naiz, eventually, pulled one for the hosts before the final whistle.
The Azkals had a chance to score in the first half but Reichelt missed a shot from the spot after a handball violation by Maldives.
The win, the second by the Philippines in the group stage, boosted the Azkals’ tally to seven points in four games. The team lost to Syria and drew with China early in the first round.
The Azkals will next fly to United Arab Emirates for a return match against Syria on November 19 at the Rashio Stadium in Dubai.