THE importance of the Philippine football team’s 8-0 victory against Cambodia in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup Qualifiers was underscored this week after a recomputation of the goal difference showed the Azkals could have fallen short if they hadn't pushed as hard.
The AFC on Thursday confirmed the finalists for the 2014 Challenge Cup in Maldives, with Laos—not Bangladesh—and Turkmenistan ending up as the two best second-placed teams that will be joining the host country, the Azkals, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, and Palestine in the tournament for emerging Asian nations set from March 3 to 16.
Initially, Turkmenistan (factoring in three points from a default win over Brunei) and Bangladesh were regarded as the two best second-placed teams from the five groups. But Brunei’s withdrawal eventually had repercussions to the qualification scenario.
It forced the AFC to turn to a rule aimed at identifying the two best runner-up teams if the number of teams in each group varied, eventually considering the results of the matches between the runner-up team and the bottom-placed team in all the groups as null and void.
According to article 16.1 and appendix 2 of the tournament regulations, “In order to ensure equality when comparing the runner-up teams of all the groups, all teams will be compared across similar number of matches.”
After a re-computation of the tally, Laos emerged as the best runner-up followed by Turkmenistan.
If they had won by less than three points over the Cambodians and drew with Turkmenistan on Tuesday to end up as the second placer in Group E, the Azkals could’ve been bumped off like Bangladesh due to inferior goal difference.
The runners-up in each group:
Games GD Points
Group A – India 3 4 6
Group B – Tajikistan 3 3 6
Group C – Laos 3 2 5
Group D – Bangladesh 3 5 6
Group E – Turkmenistan 2 6 3
But after factoring in the rule, the following games were disregarded:
Group A: India 2-1 Chinese Taipei
Group B: Tajikistan 3-0 Macau
Group C: Laos 1-1 Mongolia
Group D: Bangladesh 4-0 Northern Marianas Islands
The final standings of the runners-up without the voided games:
Games GD Points
Laos 2 2 4
Turkmenistan 2 6 3
India 2 3 3
Bangladesh 2 1 3
Tajikistan 2 0 3