MANILA, Philippines – Deadly finishing and no-nonsense defending saw the Philippine national football team humble reigning champion Vietnam, 2-0, in their ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup clash at the My Dinh National Stadium Sunday night.
The tournament’s biggest upset unfolded before the eyes of 40,000 Vietnamese fans when Chris Greatwich scored the opening goal for the Azkals in the 38th minute.
The hosts tried to mount a comeback but the Philippines’ back 4, midfield, and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge fended off waves of attacks from the Vietnamese.
Yellow cards and 2-footed tackles ensued as the Vietnamese, who defeated Myanmar 7-1 in their last outing, were left frustrated by the Filipinos’ disciplined defense.
The Azkals were content to stay on defense while launching counterattacks at every opportunity, a strategy previously laid out
by their coach, Simon McMenemy.
Phil Younghusband sealed the Azkals’ win with a precision strike at close range with 10 minutes remaining.
The victory resulted in the Philippines topping Group B.
The Philippines earlier drew with Singapore, 1-1.
The Azkals will face Myanmar next on Wednesday while Vietnam and Singapore square off in a knockout encounter.