GERRIT Holtmann debuted with the Philippine Azkals in incredible fashion, providing the late goal to beat host Mongolia, 1-0, on Saturday to keep their hopes alive in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers third round at the MFF Football Centre in Ulaanbaatar.
Holtmann saved the Azkals with the goal in the 93rd minute to the disappointment of the Mongolia squad led by goalkeeper Munkh Erdene Enkhtaivan. The VfL Bochum footballer scored from the right flank just outside the box to give the Philippines the full three points.
It was an auspicious debut for Holtmann after the German Bundesliga player arrived in Mongolia only on Thursday after his wedding.
The Philippines raised its mark to four points for the provisional lead in Group A. Palestine can reclaim the top spot with a win over Yemen later on Saturday.
The win set the stage for the Azkals’ clash with Palestine on Tuesday for a place in the Asian Cup after their chances to win against Mongolia looked doomed in rainy conditions at the MFF Football Centre.
Prior to conceding the Holtmann goal, Munkh Erdene had played impressively all day, denying Patrick Reichelt’s penalty kick.
Munkh Erdene stopped a shot by Amani Aguinaldo from close range to force a corner to the delight of his Mongolian teammates only to give up the lone goal on the next possession.