Dushanbe: Daisuke Sato’s spectacular solo strike with 11 minutes remaining proved the difference as the Philippines edged out Tajikistan 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller in Tuesday’s 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier.
The Philippines looked to be on course for a comfortable second consecutive three points in Group F as an eye-catching free-kick from captain Phil Younghusband and strikes from Javier Patino either side of half-time had Thomas Dooley’s side leading 3-0 after 48 minutes at Republican Central Stadium.
But a penalty from Parvizdzhon Umarboev and strike from Dilshod Vasiev gave the capacity home crowd hope of a dramatic turnaround.
But with Sato drilling home from outside of the penalty area, Manuchekhr Dzhalilov’s cool finish with two minutes remaining could not stop Tajikistan suffering a second defeat of the campaign.
The Philippines, meanwhile, top the table with a 100% record after two games following March’s 4-1 home win over Nepal, with Yemen two points adrift in second place after their earlier goalless draw in Kathmandu.
Younghusband, having scored twice against Nepal, opened the scoring after 28 minutes with a superb free-kick from the centre of the goal that curled and dipped past goalkeeper Abduaziz Mahkamov.
China-based Patino then doubled the visitors’ lead four minutes before half-time after an eye-catching build up, before adding a second three minutes into the second half.
But after Umarboev’s penalty three minutes before the hour mark gave the home side hope, Vasiev rounded off a swift counterattack four minutes later as Tajikistan further reduced the deficit.
Sato, though, crucially restored the Philippines’ lead with a rasping strike which gave Mahkamov no chance, leaving Dzhalilov’s shot across Patrick Deyto only turning into a late consolation for the home side.
MANILA--Call it crazy, madness or anything cardiac.
The Philippines won their second straight match and remained on top of group F of the Asian Cup Qualifiers, but not without a huge fightback by Tajikistan, escaping Dushanbe by the odd goal in seven late Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning Manila time).
With the 4-3 scoreline, the Azkals have emulated what the Malditas did to the home side two months ago, thus completing the double in both men's and women's ACQ.
And with Nepal holding Yemen into a goalless stalemate, Thomas Dooley's men are now two points clear at the top of their pile before their Sept. 5 tiff in Bacolod.
In a classic fashion, Phil Younghusband silenced the loud Dushanbe crowd to put the visiting side on the board first with a curling free kick past Abduaziz Makhkamov in the 27th minute. The skipper is just four goals away from a half-century of Azkals goals in which no one has ever reached before.
Javier Patiño made it 2-0 just four minutes before half time when he converted Mike Ott's pass in a clinical finish for his fifth goal for the country.
The Azkals tripled their lead three minutes after the restart when the Henan forward bagged his brace with an empty net strike after latching on the younger Ott's pass once again.
But Tajikistan fought back with two goals in a four-minute span gave an anemic Pamir Stadium a huge spark of life.
Tajik captain Parvizjon Umarboev scored from the spot in the 57th minute and four minutes later, substitute Dilshov Vosiev rocked the crowd after converting on a counter.
However, Daisuke Sato gave the Azkals three precious points by making it 4-2 in a blistering fashion by firing in from outside of the box that left Makhkamov no chance.
Late drama ensued in the final minute where Manuchekr Dzahilov pulled one back, but Tajikistan could not find another goal to avoid defeat for the second match running, dragging them further at the bottom with no points on the board to show for.
BIÑAN--There is one 4-0 result that happened on Saturday after all.
Stallion Laguna dropped four goals and blanked reigning Guam Soccer League champions Rovers in a special club friendly at the Biñan Football Stadium.
Yannick Tuason struck first for Laguna 15 minutes into the match, while Ryota Ishikawa made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute.
Nicolas Ferrer added one more to the goal count with a 65th minute strike, while Jhan-Jhan Melliza sealed the 4-0 shutout in the 80th minute.
"I'm happy with how Jhan-Jhan Melliza and Nicolas Ferrer are playing," Coach Ernie Nierras commended the match's last two scorers.
Nierras, whose Laguna side looks to pull off a late run to the Final Four, further said, "As a whole. It's working pretty good. We're getting there."
Led by national team mainstays Jonah Romero, Ian Mariano, and skipper Jason Cunliffe, who all once played for the former Philippine top tier league UFL, Rovers are using the two-game series as part of their preparations for their upcoming title defense in the Guamanian league.
Both clubs' second teams are to face each other in another friendly on Sunday also at the said venue.
Friendly scrimmage at Rizal Memorial on June 9, 2017. Three 30-minute periods. Jarvey Gayoso scores the opener for the U22s. Then Jim Ashley Flores levels at 1-1 with a great first-time finish. Lee Jeong Min makes it 2-1 then Meralco's Simon Greatwich converts from the penalty spot.