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After winning their first match, the Philippines continue in their perfect run in Bangabandhu Cup as they beat hosts Bangladesh with a hard-earned 1-0 win and go top of Group B heading into the semis.
Hosts Bangladesh almost got a dream start within the first four minutes of action off a potent corner-kick play but the attempt was denied by the crossbar. The rebound in the box meant the danger was not yet done as a mad scramble for the ball ensued but the Filipino defence was able to clear the ball, barely.
Two minutes later and the Philippines were awarded a free-kick. Minegishi unleashed a curler towards Misagh Bahadoran’s path who was able to connect with a header but the attempt went wide.
In the eighth minute, Bangladesh’s Robiul Hasan tried to bury his chance from an angle but Azkals keeper, Louie Casas was able to thwart the attempt and collect the ball safe into his custody.
As the Philippines showed more patience in their possession play from the back and quick long balls forward, the breakthrough eventually came from a counterattacking procedure as Misagh Bahadoran, with the ball at his feet, was able to draw two opposing defenders towards him before laying off with a perfectly timed ball to a lurking Kenshiro Daniels who made sure
the ball found its way into the back of the net and put the Azkals ahead six minutes before the half
hour mark.
The goal gave a sense of further motivation for Head Coach Anto Gonzales’ wards as Minegishi tried his luck from outside the box but the attempt was wide.
Bangladesh were especially dangerous with their long throw-ins as Casas was called into action in the 47th minute to thwart the danger from such a play.
A few moments later, it was the Azkals who tried to retaliate with an attacking effort as Jovin Bedic receives a well executed lay-off from Marvin Angeles but the Kaya Iloilo forward’s drive had too much power in it as the ball whizzed over the bar.
In the 69th minute, came probably the best chance for Bangladesh to equalise as a counterattacking play had the Azkals almost defenceless, but forward Nabib Newaz Ziban’s header agonisingly flew wide of the near post as he could have done much better with his effort.
A tense end for the Filipino side came in the final minutes as the South Asian hosts continued to push on to restore the parity in desperate measures, but Casas came up with some big and crucial saves.
Four minutes into the extra time a last-gasp corner kick play by Bangladesh produced a dangerous mix-up for the Philippines but, again, Casas was able to recover and gather the ball to safety in the end.
The hosts can only be commended as they continued to apply pressure right until the final whistle but Kenshiro Daniels’ early strike proved decisive as the Azkals head into the semifinals of the tournament with a perfect slate of two wins out of two matches.
The Philippines play their semifinals match on October 9, 2018.