Philippine Azkals topple Vietnam

By Dennis Gasgonia,

Posted at Nov 27 2012 08:35 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2012 08:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – Skipper Chieffy Caligdong led the Philippine Azkals past powerhouse Vietnam in their 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup do-or-die clash on Tuesday at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

The veteran winger scored the winning goal in the 85th minute to power the Azkals past the Red Warriors, 1-0.

The crucial victory kept the Azkals' hopes alive in advancing to the knockout stage.

Passes from from Jerry Lucena and Angel Guirado enabled Caligdong to score the game's lone goal.

The win foiled Vietnam's attempt to avenge their shock defeat at the hands of the then-unheralded Azkals in the 2010 edition of the Cup.

Following their frustrating 2-1 defeat to host team Thailand last Saturday, the Filipinos showed an improved game against the Vietnamese.

After Vietnam's Le Tan Tai almost scored early in the match, Phil Younghusband had a golden opportunity to put the Philippines ahead in the 12th minute but he slipped inside the box.

Minutes later, Younghusband was shown a yellow card for diving.

Another Younghusband attempt at goal in the 38th minute went wide.

Short passes between Patrick Reichelt and Paul Mulders led to a scoring chance for Phil's brother, James, but he also failed to convert the opportunity.

The second half showed a more aggressive Vietnam squad, but the Azkals' defense held up.

The Philippines then raised the tempo by bringing in Guirado and Caligdong to replace Paul Mulders and James Younghusband.

The move paid dividends as Guirado provided several scoring chances for the Azkals that led to Caligdong’s goal.

Vietnam, however, refused to back down and nearly equalized in the 86th.

Azkals goalkeeper Eduard Sacapaño stopped the scoring attempt, with the ball rattling the underside of the crossbar.

The win was good for 3 points, boosting the Azkals' placing in the group table.

The Philippines will face Myanmar next.