THE highly physical battle between the Philippine Azkals and the Afghanistan squad on Tuesday in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup at the Hithadhoo Stadium in Addu City, Maldives elicited a scoreless draw. The match is the Azkals’ first game in the 2014 edition of the tourney.
With the draw, the Filipinos and the Afghans received one point each while Turkmenistan gained the No. 1 spot in Group B with 1-0 win-loss record (three points) after routing Laos, 5-1, in the opening game.
The Azkals played without striker Phil Younghusband and Rob Gier because the two players are serving a one-game suspension. Though Stephan Schrock presented two opportunities, the Philippine squad failed to score a goal in the entire match. For their part, the Afghans could not find an opening too from the start up to the last minute of the 90-minute match because of the tight defense employed by the Azkals.
The Azkals under American mentor Thomas Dooley will play with Younghusband and Gier against Laos tonight.
The champion in the Challenge Cup will gain a ticket to the 2015 Asian Cup.