2018 Suzuki Cup: No Miracle in Hanoi as Azkals bow out in semis
Santino Honasan on Dec 06, 2018 11:20 PM
(Photo courtesy of @affsuzukicup on Twitter)
No repeat of history for the Philippine Men's National Football Team as they bowed out of the 2018 Suzuki Cup after falling to home team Vietnam 1-2 in the second leg of the semifinals, Thursday evening at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.
The Azkals, who fell 2-4 on aggregate, hoped to recreate the Miracle of Hanoi from eight years earlier, wherein they had upset then-defending champions Vietnam, 2-0 in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Instead, the Azkals saw a repeat of their 2-1 loss in the first leg.
A scoreless first half kept hope alive for the Filipino contingent as they marched into the second half, needing to score at least twice to go ahead on aggregate.
It was the home team however, who managed to find the goal first as Nguyen Quang Hai struck in the 83rd minute.
Four minutes later, Nguyen Cong Phuong delivered the back-breaking goal to put the match, and any chances of a comeback out of reach.
Azkals veteran James Younghusband prevented a shut-out as he managed to pull one back in the 89th minute.
Vietnam, champions of the 2008 tournament, move on to face Malaysia in the Finals.
The Azkals meanwhile, exit in the semifinals for the fourth time in five Suzuki Cup appearances.
While it was not the exit that the Pinoy side hoped, it is still most definitely a marked improvement from their 2016 campaign that saw them fail to qualify for the semis after three straight trips.
A promising peformance for the Azkals, who now shift their attention to the upcoming 2019 AFC Asian Cup beginning January.