PH Azkals lose to Vietnam in front of big hometown crowd


Jose Porteria (C upper) of the Philippines vies for the ball with Vu Van Thanh (C down) of Vietnam during the 2026 World Cup qualifying match between the Philippines and Vietnam in Manila on November 16, 2023. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

The Philippine Azkals were handed a 2-0 defeat by Vietnam that put a damper on a big crowd that came to see the opener of the World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers on Thursday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Goals from Nguyen Van Toan and Nguyen Thai Son in each half allowed the visitors to take the full three points at the expense of an Azkals side that made futile attempts to salvage a result before 10,378 fans, the most in recent memory.

Van Toan scored 16 minutes into the contest before Thai Son got the much-needed breather for Vietnam in stoppage time, ending any chances of the Philippines getting a last-ditch equalizer.

The Azkals wrap up the first window of the Asian Qualifiers on Tuesday when they host Indonesia at the same venue.

π˜πŽπ” πŒπ€πƒπ„ πˆπ“ 𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐏𝐄𝐍 πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­We’re #10kStrong tonight! πŸ’ͺπŸ”₯ Let’s continue cheering the boys as they battle it out against Vietnam! #PFF #PhilippineFootballForward

Posted by The Philippine Football Federation onΒ Thursday, November 16, 2023

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) officials got what they wanted as they got a big turnout following weeks of promoting the two qualifying matches.

OJ Porteria got the Azkals their first chance with a low attempt that went straight into Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam, 10 minutes after kickoff.

Another chance two minutes later saw Patrick Reichelt’s volley from close range going wide to the right as the home team was denied yet again.

Vietnam got its opening goal when Van Toan scored from the center of the box, putting the Azkals behind.

The rest of the match saw the Azkals attempting to pull off back, but one chance from Santi Rublico missed the mark.

Thai Son scored near before the end of the four-minute stoppage as the Philippines absorbed a fourth straight defeat to Vietnam since its last victory in the 2012 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup in Bangkok, Thailand.

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