Azkals turn one goal into three points.
The Philippine Azkals booted a 1-nil win over the Lions of Singapore with Patrick Reichelt scoring the only goal of the match inside Panaad Stadium in Bacolod on Tuesday night.
It was a classic fixture between two exciting South East Asian nations which has historically been dominated by Singapore in past editions as the Philippines has never tasted a win against them.
That Suzuki Cup spell of Lions sovereignty over the Azkals has now been broken in this year’s version of the biennial regional tournament.
Starting from the opening whistle, the Filipino footballers attacked a solid defense from the Singaporeans, but failed to notch a goal in the first half.
Their perseverance eventually paid off in the 78th minute when Patrick Reichelt found the back of the net by eluding three defenders before defeating Hasaan Sunny in front of goal to give his team the upper hand, and ultimately, the win.
The triumph turned out to be a fitting welcome for newly appointed coach Sven-Göran Erikkson who had assumed the position just three weeks prior.
“We’re happy we got the three points, but it was a difficult game. Singapore was playing direct and they were very difficult to defend. But tactically we made some changes and we showed good fighting spirit,” Erikkson said in the postgame interview.
The match against Singapore also saw the senior team debut of Patrick Strauss and the return of Cardiff City goal-stopper Neil Etheridge for the Philippines.
Both the Azkals and Lions will next face Timor Leste on November 17 and November 21 respectively in hopes of solidifying their place in the semifinals stage.