Philippine Azkals hold North Korea to scoreless draw
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 08, 2015 06:06 PM
The Philippine Azkals hold Group H leaders North Korea to a scoreless draw, becoming the first team to do so in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
The Philippine Azkals did what no other team in Group H has been able to do so far, and that’s survive against leaders North Korea.
The Azkals held their own in Pyongyang, and managed to hold the hosts to a scoreless draw, Thursday afternoon at the Kim Il-Sung Stadium.
The Azkals managed to control the tempo of the match early on while keeping shots away to go into the halftime break at 0-0.
Late in the second frame, Azkals keeper Neil Etheridge came up big defensively, stopping some big attempts from the hosts that would have sealed the game. After 90 minutes and an additional eight minutes of added injury time, both squads were unable to alter the 0-0 scoreboard.
Drawing the group leaders is a huge way to bounce back for the Pinoy side, who suffered their first loss in the qualifying tournament, bowing to Uzbekistan, 5-1. This is the same Uzbekistan team that North Korea defeated handily, 4-2 last June.
The Philippines now moves up to second in Group H, with seven points (2W-1L-D) in four matches played. There won’t be much time to rest for the Azkals however, as they jet to Bahrain to kick off the second leg of the group stages in less than a week’s time.
North Korea still sits on top of Group H with 10 points (2W-0L-1D) in four matches. Uzbekistan sits at third with six points (2W-1L-0D), Bahrain (1W-2L-0D, 3pts) and Yemen (0W-4L-0D, 0 pts) round out the group.
The Azkals take on Bahrain on Tuesday, October 13 at the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa. The Filipino booters will be carrying with them some renewed momentum as they look to take down Al-Ahmar once again.
The nationals close out the year, back at home when they take on Yemen at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Thursday, November 12.