Late goal earns point for Philippines

November 22, 2018 - 11:57 AM
Philippine Azkals
Philippine national team head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson talks to the national soccer team, commonly known as the Azkals, before the start of a training in Cavite, Philippines November 6, 2018. Picture taken November 6, 2018. (REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

KUALA LUMPUR—Jovin Bedic scored a lucky late equalizer to secure a deserved 1-1 draw for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Philippines against champions Thailand on Wednesday evening in the Asean Football Federation Championship that keeps Azkal hopes of a semi-final place alive.

Both teams move on to seven points from three games following the meeting in Bacolod and remain one point ahead of group B rivals Singapore, who closed the gap on the top two to a point with a 6-1 thrashing of East Timor.

Defending champions Thailand will seal their place in the last four on Sunday with a draw against the Singaporeans while the Philippines will go through even if they lose to already-eliminated Indonesia and the Singaporeans lose to the Thais.

The Philippines looked set to go down to an undeserved defeat when Supachai Jaided put the Thais in front in the 56th minute, just five minutes after Azkals captain Phil Younghusband missed the best chance of the game.

Younghusband was unmarked and in space just six yards from goal when his effort found the arms of Thai goalkeeper Chatchai Budrom, while Supachai made no mistake at the other end when he coolly slotted past Michael Falkesgaard.

The Philippines, though, claimed a deserved leveller with just nine minutes remaining when Bedic’s shot from outside the area was deflected onto the post before rolling across the face of goal and directed over the line by the diving Chatchai.

Singapore’s hopes of a place in the next round were enhanced as Safuwan Baharudin claimed a hat-trick in a comfortable win over East Timor, and victory over Milovan Rajevac’s side in Bangkok on Sunday would take them through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. —Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by William Maclean