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    Philippine Azkals lose at home against Vietnam

    MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Azkals were just a goal-shy to end the game into a draw as Vietnam got away with a 2-1 win at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup Semis on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

    Philippine Azkals lose at home against Vietnam
    Patrick Reichelt’s lone goal wasn’t enough for the Azkals to win the 1st leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup Semis as Philippines lost to Vietnam 2-1 | Photo Credit: ESPN5

    No matter what the sport is, it’ll always be a physical game once Filipinos play it. Tonight’s AFF Suzuki Cup semis is not an excuse when Philippines faced Vietnam in the 1st leg.

    As soon as the referee blew the opening whistle, the booters turned the Panaad Stadium into a battlefield as they scrambled for the ball and looked for any opportunity to draw the first blood.

    As the players fight for possessions, bodies got thrown onto the turf as they exchanged challenges and tackles. The field officials however, signaled them to play on that delighted the 5,000 plus massive crowd attendance.

    The Vietnamese led the Filipinos in terms of attacks and time of possessions that led to the first ever goal of the night at the 11:22 mark courtesy of striker Anh Duc.

    The Azkals tried to counter but the Golden Star’s defense was glue-tight that prevented them in getting clear shots. Patrick Reichelt attempted to even the score but it was blocked by goalie Van Lam from the corner left.

    Philippines had another opportunity in the dying moments of the 1st half after the head referee added 2 more extra minutes.

    Team Captain Phil Younghusband found the trailing Patrick Reichelt anew in the middle for the home team’s first goal and game equalizer literally seconds just before the half ended.

    Vietnam knew that Philippines had the momentum after the latter scored at the end of the half. The Golden Star sent the Azkals back to earth again with Phan Van Duc’s open shot in front of petrified keeper Michael Falkesgaard for the 2-1 lead at the start of the 2nd half.

    Stephan Schrock had a good shot at the 50:00 mark but the kick was not powerful and was not sharp enough to get in. Instead, it fell straight to the tacky hands of Van Lam.

    Positive signs for the Azkals after Vietnam’s second goal as they prolonged their possessions and made some clear shots. The nationals just needed to generate more power in their attempts to level the score and with over 90 minutes left in the game.

    Veteran James Younghusband entered the field off the bench in hope to create a spark and level the game with few more minutes remaining.

    The Vietnamese still led the Filipinos by just a point at the 90:00 mark. With 3 more minutes added, Azkals tried to counter-attack but the final whistle blew and handed the 1st leg to the visiting team.

    The Azkals will travel to Hanoi Vietnam for the 2nd leg on Thursday, December 6, 2018 where they still have the chance to take one of the finals seat.

    — Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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