The streak is on for the Philippines in the second round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 / AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2 following their 2-1 win away at Maldives, Thursday evening 14 November 2019, in Male.
Making amends from their miscues from the penalty spot in the first half, Iain Ramsay and John-Patrick Strauss found the back of the net for the Azkals’ second win in Group A. The win puts them level with China PR with seven points, five points behind leader Syria.
With Martin Steuble suspended owing to his accumulated yellow cards, head coach Goran Milojevic put Luke Woodland in his place at left-back.
Patrick Reichelt had his penalty kick saved by Maldives goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal in the 33rd minute after a handball by Ahmeed Numaan, which kept the score tied at the break.
In the second half, the Azkals struck first in the 52nd minute. Ramsay hit a powerful left-footed effort past Faisal off a pass from Strauss for the first goal of the match.
Having his head bandaged after a hard foul by Maldives captain Akram Abdul Ghani earlier in the match, Strauss doubled the lead in the 69th minute. The midfielder tapped home the rebound after both Woodland and Reichelt had their efforts denied by the crossbar.
Substitute Hassan Naiz scored their consolation deep into stoppage time, but that was not enough for the Red Snappers who lost their third straight World Cup Qualifier match.
The Philippines travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates for their return fixture against Syria on 19 November at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.
“We congratulate the Philippine Men’s National Team in their win over Maldives,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. “It was a tough match, but the team came through to claim three vital points in their campaign in the FIFA World Cup / AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.”
Maldives: Faisal (GK), Numaan, Sifaau, Fasir (Naiz 66’), Aisam (Rizuvan 75’), Asadhulla (Ali Ashfaq 66’), Hamza, Akram (C), Mahudhee, Haisham, Nihan
Philippines: Etheridge (GK), Alvaro Silva, De Murga, Strauss, Ramsay, Woodland (Ott 71’), Sato (Dizon 60’), Baas, Schrock, Reichelt, Hartmann (Guirado 66’)
Photos from Football Association of Maldives