The Philippine booters bowed out of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship 2018 Qualifiers as they lost to China, 0-2, on Friday afternoon at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
After conceding one goal in each half, the men’s Under-22 national team dropped to 0-2 win-loss record and got practically eliminated in the qualifying stage of the biennial tournament’s third edition.
Chinese captain He Chao scored in the 15th minute after capitalizing on the space neglected by Filipino defenders Jordan Jarvis and Jeremiah Rocha while Zhang Xiuwei netted in the 74th.
The final tournament host dominated the young Filipino side in possession (67 percent-33 percent), corner kicks (7-3), shot attempts (18-4) and shots on-target (11-4).
Despite the loss, national head coach Marlon Maro remains optimistic.
“My team was able to play more forward passes today so I think the result – despite the loss – is a positive one,” said Maro.
The PH XI was blanked by defending champion Japan, 0-8, in its opening game in Group J last Wednesday.
In the other group fixture, Japan struck twice in the second half to beat qualifier host Cambodia, 2-0, in front of a crowd of 15,825 to move one win away from securing its seat in the final competition.