Nepal holds Azkals to scoreless draw as Philippines' entry to AFC Asian Cup stalled anew
Phil Younghusband and the Azkals were held to their third straight draw. Photo from AFC Asian Cup Twitter

THE Philippines' qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup will have to wait a little longer as the Azkals were held to a goalless draw against already-ran Nepal in Kathmandu on Tuesday. 

A win would have clinched the Azkals the ticket to Abu Dhabi but once again they had to settle for their third straight draw of the tournament.

Despite the result, the Azkals still sit atop of the table with nine points and remain favored to qualify with Yemen and Tajikistan running second and third, respectively, with six points apiece.

The two teams are yet to clash as of writing time.

Chances came aplenty for the visiting squad but none came bigger than in the final minute of injury time when Neil Etheridge sent a wonderful free kick off the set piece into the box. 

Defender Carly de Murga met the ball in the air but sent his header a little bit to the right as his attempt hit the post, much to the delight of the Nepalese crowd in attendance. 

The Azkals were missing vital cogs from every position in striker Javier Patino, midfielder Manny Ott and defender Amani Aguinaldo but still managed to get a decent result against the spirited home squad.

Mike Ott and skipper Phil Younghusband also came close in the first 60 minutes but the Nepalese keeper was in his A-game tonight. 

The Azkals will now get their chance to qualify when they return home for the final game of the group stages when they host Tajikistan at the Panaad Park and Stadium on March 27.

The last time the Philippines got this close to qualifying for the Asian Cup was back in 2014 when they lost to Palestine in the finals of the qualifiers. 

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