The Philippines ended their first ever AFC Asian Cup appearance winless after Kyrgyzstan escorted them to the exit with a 3-1 defeat in their Wednesday night showdown at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.
Heading into the match, the two sides had yet to score in the tournament, but had shown promise in their head-to-head appearances against powerhouses South Korea and China.
With a slight glimmer of hope at qualifying for the Round of 16, both squads went all out.
Looking to finally get a win and score a goal in UAE, the Central Asian team jumped off to a dominant first half over the Southeast Asia representative, highlighted by a Vitali Lux goal 24 minutes into the match.
In stark contrast to how their opposition was playing, the Azkals opened up the contest looking flat and a step slower. Michael Falkesgaard did his best to keep his side in the match as the Philippine goalkeeper compensated for his team’s lackluster first half defensive performance with multiple saves.
Coming out of the halftime interval, the Philippines looked sharper on the attack and started to threaten the Kyrgyz. However, the second-half resurgence was washed out as Vitali Lux continued where he left off, adding two more goals in the 51st and 77th minute to complete a hat trick.
The Azkals were finally able to find the back of the net in the 81st minute with a Stephan Schröck consolation goal that came off a direct free kick to at least promise his country and its fans that they would not end their first Asian Cup campaign goalless.
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