Azkals book ticket to Suzuki Cup semis with stunning shutout of Indonesia
Manny Ott and the Azkals are on top of Group A with the full six points from two matches. Photo from affsuzukicup.com

HANOI – The Philippine men’s football team put on a dominant display, outclassing Indonesia, 4-0, on Tuesday at the My Dinh National Stadium to book an early ticket to the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinals.

Eager to advance outright to the knockout stage of Southeast Asia’s showpiece event, the Azkals ripped the lethargic Indonesians apart with their clinical passing and staunch defending to score stunning shutout.

That enabled Philippines to increase its point total to six points to keep a firm grip of the lead in Group A, while leaving Indonesia with only a point.

“It was an excellent performance,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said. “You can’t play better…but I never thought we would win four-nothing.”

Phil Younghusband scored for the second straight game, while Manny Ott, Martin Steuble, and Rob Gier found the back of the net as well for the Filipino booters, who finally slayed the ghost that had long haunted them for eight decades, defeating the Indonesians for the first time since 1934.

“There’s always a first time for everything,” Dooley said. “But if we broke some records or we beat some team for the first time, it doesn’t matter. What’s most important is we play good.”

In an ominous sign of things to come, Misagh Bahadoran drew a foul inside the box 15 minutes into the match to get rewarded with a penalty, which Younghusband converted to open the floodgates.

Ott, the Filipino-German midfielder who along with Jerry Lucena has been a fantastic facilitator, emerged on the firing end this time, firing a missile six minutes into the second half to double the lead.

The Azkals kept pounding as Steuble pounced on a napping Indonesian defense in the 67th minute to score from a close-range free kick.

Gier put the exclamation point by scoring off his own miss 11 minutes before stoppage time.

The scoreboard reflects the lopsided manner in which the Azkals picked apart the Indonesians. Karlo Sacamos
The scoreboard reflects the lopsided manner in which the Azkals picked apart the Indonesians. Karlo Sacamos

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