The Philippine national football team fell to the hands of their Vietnamese rivals, 3-1, to suffer their first loss in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup at the My Ding Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday, November 28.
At the start of the opening half, the Vietnamese were quick to jumpstart their offense with an early run by veteran Le Cong Vinh that almost got through the Azkals defensive backline.
The Vietnamese booters had the upper hand for the greater part of the first half as a bullet strike was sent by Ngo Hoang Thinh to the back of the net in the 9th minute to take the lead for his squad.
Azkals exhausted all efforts to even the score line with attacks coming from veterans Phil Younghusband and Manny Ott but no goal was scored for the Philippine side as the formidable defense of the back line of their continued to swat away their chances.
The blazing pace of the Vietnamese from both ends managed to give their squad a 1-0 advantage going into the break.
As the game continued for the final half, Vu Minh Tuan made matters worse for the ailing Azkals side as he doubled the score of his team to 2-0 in the 51st minute.
Not long after, another one got through for the Vietnamese side as Pham Thanh Luong sent a thunderous strike to the Deyto-manned goal, giving his club a 3-0 advantage after 59 minutes of play.
The Azkals did not go down without a fight as Paul Mulders, who came into the match during the break for Mark Hartmann, tallied the only goal for the Philippines in the match.
The kickers from the Philippines now drop to second place after the Vietnamese beating with 6 points tucked under their belts for the group stage of the tournament.
In spite of the loss, the Azkals will advance to the two-game semifinals stage of the cup and is slated to face the number one team of Group B.
As of press time, Thailand holds the number one spot in Group B with 6 points after two consecutive wins against Singapore and Malaysia.
Source : Jaelle Nevin Reyes, Rappler.com