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    Azkals put up brave stand in close loss to Uzbeks in World Cup qualifiers

    Mar 24, 2016
    The Azkals dropped a close 1-0 decision to Uzbekistan in Tashkent during their World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers Thursday night. Jaime Campos

    THE Philippine men's football team put up a gallant stand in surrendering a close 1-0 decision to Uzbekistan in their World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers match on Thursday night in Tashkent.

    Already depleted with the absence of a handful of key booters, the Azkals saw themselves go a man down early in the first half, but held the host Uzbeks scoreless for one half before giving up a goal at the hour mark.

    The Filipino booters thus remained in third spot, behind their conquerors and North Korea, in danger of having to go through a playoff for a spot in the Asian Cup.

    Still, it was a result the Azkals can be proud of as they proved to be a fortress almost the entire match despite seeing OJ Porteria get questionably sent off 10 minutes into the match after a hard tackle.

    The Azkals finally gave up a header in the 60th minute as Javier Patiño and Patrick Reichelt conjured the Filipinos' best chances that just went wide.

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    Goal keeper Neil Etheridge shone brightest with plenty of saves between sticks.

    Team manager Dan Palami later praised the Azkals for giving the host country a tough fight despite a depleted roster.

    “Gallant effort by the AZKALS tonight! 85 min. with 10 mean against the top team in our group, away game. I think we represented the PHL well,” said Palami in his twitter account@dscpalami.

    The Azkals cap off their second-round qualifiers campaign on Tuesday against North Korea at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

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    The Azkals dropped a close 1-0 decision to Uzbekistan in Tashkent during their World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers Thursday night. Jaime Campos
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