The Filipino Azkals lost 2-0 to China in the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers on Tuesday (Manila time) at Sharjah Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
The Azkals held on with an encouraging performance in the first half, but gave up two goals after the intermission to give China the victory.
Chinese star Wu Lei converted a penalty in the 56th minute before winger Wu Xinghan strengthened the advantage in the 65th minute.
The defeat dealt a heavy blow to the Azkals’ candidacy for the World Cup. The Philippines remained in third place in Group A with seven points and a 2-1-3 record.
China, second, has increased its chances of advancing with 13 points (4-1-1).
The Azkals, who had a long absence before the game against China, will face Guam on Friday.
The team continues their bid without top goaltender Neil Etheridge and eight other key players.
Besides Etheridge, who was unable to join the squad due to surgery, other players unavailable were Patrick Strauss, Niko De Vera, Iain Ramsay, Carlie De Murga, Raphael Obermair, Gerrit Holtmann, Lloyd Fagerlie and Jesper Nyholm . INQ
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