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    Azkals bow to Tajikistan in Bangabandhu Cup semis as group sweep wasted

    Oct 9, 2018

    THE men’s national football team yielded to Tajikistan with a 0-2 defeat in their knockout semifinals bidding farewell in the 2018 Bangabandhu Gold Cup on Tuesday at the Cox’s Bazar Stadium in Bangladesh.

    The Philippine Azkals had no answer to the grit and aggression of the Tajiks, with Komron Tursonov providing the first half goal in the 32nd minute, giving them the lead that lasted the whole game before Axtam Nazarov nailed the dagger in the 96th minute.

    Tajikistan will face either Bangladesh and Palestine, who will clash on Wednesday in the other semis pairing, in a winner-take-all Finals on Friday at Bangabandhu National Stadium.

    The Tajiks pushed the Azkals to the limits right from the get-go dominating possessions in the first half before Tursonov drew the first blood with an open goal in the 32nd minute.

    Philippine goalkeeper Louie Casas, who had brilliant saves in the first half except for Tursonov’s goal, got hurt in the 66th minute after accidentally getting kneed by Raximov in the head.

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    But after eight minutes, his bloody head was treated and he continued to play with a headband. Casas saved a free kick from Tajikistan in the 81st from Ian Clarino’s yellow card. Rookie Jarvey Gayoso tried to equalize the match but his attempt in the 86th mark went off the mark, 10 minutes later Nazarov foiled Azkals’ finals bid.

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    The Philippines swept Group B with a 3-1 victory over Laos and 1-0 escape over Bangladesh last week only to succumb in the semis.

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