Azkals open World Cup qualifiers with 2-0 loss to Vietnam

By Kevin Estrada

The Philippines opened their World Cup qualifying on the wrong foot, as Vietnam scored a 2-0 win at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila last Thursday, November 16.

Despite a crowd of 10,378 that trooped into the fabled venue, the Azkals paid a heavy price for their missed chances and sub-par defending as Philippe Troussier’s side pounced on it to score their first win in Group F play.

Forward Nguyen Van Toan gave the visitors a deserved lead in the 16th minute as he got past Christian Rontini and Jefferson Tabinas before finding the back of the net with his right foot from inside the penalty box.

The home side played with more urgency, yet they could not find the back of the net and eventually found themselves trailing at the half.

Even the entry of Stephan Schrock and Bienvenido Marañon in the 68th minute did little to improve the Azkals’ chances, as it muffed several opportunities to equalize.

Vietnam eventually got their second in the fourth minute of stoppage time, with substitute Nguyen Dình Bac capped off their link-up with Nguyen Thanh Binh as the former scored with his right foot from just outside of the box.

PHILIPPINES: Etheridge (GK) ©, Curran, Tabinas, Mike Ott (Bugas 74’), Manny Ott, Porteria (Schrock 68’), Sato (Villanueva 89’), Reichelt, Rublico, Baas (Marañon 68’), Rontini

VIETNAM: Van Lam (GK), Minh Trong, Thanh Binh, Van Toan (Van Tung 84’), Tuan Anh ©, Tuan Tai, Thai Son, Van Thanh (Van Cuong 46’), Tuan Hai (Dinh Bac 76’), Viet Anh, Tien Linh (Van Quyet 46’)

Photo credit: AFC

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