Mike Ott saves Azkals, scores to draw Yemen

BY ADRIAN STEWART CO

Thursday, October 12, 2017

MANILA – Mike Ott came up with the game-tying goal as Philippine Azkals settled for a 1-1 draw with Yemen in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers match on Tuesday night at the Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Trailing 1-0 following a conversion from Yemen’s Tawfik Ali, the Filipino men’s football team managed to equalize in the 88th minute on a conversion by Ott from a pass by Paul Mulders.

With the outcome, Azkals remained on top of Group F standings with 8 points on two victories and two draws, while Yemen is on second place with 6 points on one win and three draws.

Azkals started aggressive in the match with early shot attempts from Iain Ramsay, Phil Younghusband and Kevin Ingreso, but these were denied by the defense of Yemen’s goalkeeper.

The Yemenis also had chances to score but Azkals’ goalkeeper Neil Etheridge blocked their attempts. Both teams were goalless by halftime.

Azkals again attempted to score early in the second half courtesy of Hikaru Minegishi but failed to find its mark. Yemen finally broke the drought with Ali scoring from inside the box.

Since then, the Yemenis tightened their defense, limiting the shot attempts of Azkals, until the 88th minute when Ott managed to sneak a strike from close range for a 1-1 score.

“It’s pretty disappointing not to get the 3 points but we fought hard ’til the end,” said Younghusband. “But there are still a lot of positives in this game. We are still on top. We will learn from our mistakes in this game.”

Azkals aims to end up at least in the top two of its group to advance to the next round of the quadrennial international event./PN