The Philippine Azkals and Thailand War Elephants played out an entertaining match on the fourth day of group play in the ongoing Suzuki Cup at Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City on Wednesday evening.
With both nations desperate to get a win to assure themselves a semifinals spot, the game turned into a physical battle during the early stages.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first half to break an even deadlock though the Philippines were able to give themselves more chances in comparison to the Thais.
The first goal eventually came through in the second half as Supachai Jaided made a reeling Azkals defense pay via counter attack in the 56th minute.
Azkals substitute Jovin Bedic was able to score a late equalizer in the 81st minute to split the match points with the defending champions to help newly minted Philippine coach Sven-Göran Eriksson stay undefeated in the campaign.
However, the decorated football coach believes his team missed a chance to bag the precious three points in the group.
“I think we played very well, all 90 minutes, and for me, we were the better team out there; we created more occasions,” Eriksson said about his team’s performance.
Despite missing out on the opportunity, he was still relatively satisfied with how his players competed. “So, 1-1, yeah it’s okay, but we could have won the game. I’m very happy with the performance of our team. I think they did very very well against a good team,” the Swedish coach added.
The Philippines will next face an already eliminated Indonesia side away from home, while Thailand will look to punch their tickets to the semifinals stage against Singapore.
If Singapore defeats Thailand or forces a draw, they will advance to the semifinals and force the Philippines to bow out of the competition. If the Singaporeans drop that match against the Thais, the Azkals and War Elephants will both advance into the next round regardless of how the Philippines-Indonesia match plays out.