MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Palestinian Fighters held the Philippines Azkals to a goalless draw in their Challenge Cup group stage match in Yangon, Myanmar on Wednesday.
The Azkals struggled hard to get past the taller Palestinians, who dominated the first half of the game.
Filipino-Spanish player Angel Aldeguer Guirado, who took the place of injured striker Phil Younghusband, had the best scoring attempt for the Azkals in the 62nd minute, with his header saved by the Palestinian goalkeeper.
Chieffy Caligdong and Rob Gier also had near successes at the Palestinian goal.
“Sa first half magaling ang Palestine… magaling ang kanilang pasahan at hindi natin masyadong nakuha ang bola,” reported ABS-CBN sports correspondent, Dyan Castillejo.
The Fighters deployed a lone striker, 5-man midfield formation to block the Azkals' passing lanes.
The Palestinians' counter-attacks also caused problems for the Filipinos.
Their shots hit the crossbar several times, almost catching Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge asleep.
It was a rough game for both squads, prompting Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss to substitute 3 of his players near the end of the match.
Caligdong, who had a man-of-the match performance, limped out of the field in the 88th minutes.
The Azkals now have 2 points on 2 straight draws in the single-round qualifying series. The Filipinos earlier settled for a 1-1 draw against host nation Myanmar.
The Azkals will now have to secure a crucial win against Bangladesh on Friday to raise their total points to 5.
Palestine currently leads the group with 4 points on 1 win and 1 draw.
Myanmar currently has 1 point through the draw with the Azkals.
Bangladesh has no points yet. Myanmar and Bangladesh will also play on Wednesday.