The Philippines make their return to the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals after a tightly contested 0-0 draw against Indonesia last Sunday 25 November 2018 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Azkals finished the group stage in second place having collected 8 points on two wins and two draws. Thailand won Group B after defeating Singapore, 3-0, in the other match. This will be the Philippines’ fourth semifinal appearance in the Suzuki Cup having previously advanced to the knockout stages in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
“After four games, two wins, and two draws, we are in the semifinals and we are happy,” said head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. “The coaches have done a great job, I’m proud of the team”.
The Philippines got close on several occasions to break the deadlock. Stephan Schrock’s fourth minute attempt just sailed wide after the hosts’ defense broke down.
Concerns mounted midway the first half as captain Phil Younghusband had to be replaced by Curt Dizon due to a cut to the head.
The team remained composed and disciplined in the second half. Manny Ott almost latched in the opener in the 59th minute, but was denied by goalkeeper.
Indonesia continued to pressure in search of the winning goal, but the Philippines defense stifled every chance.
The Philippines will face a very familiar foe in Vietnam in the two-legged semifinals. The first match will be held on 2 December 2018 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City, while the second match will be held on 6 December 2018 at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Photo from PSSI/AFF