THE dream of the Philippines football team making its first ever Asian Cup appearance is now closer to reality as the Azkals salvaged a 1-1 draw with Yemen in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in neutral grounds in Qatar.
Mike Ott scored the equalizer in the 89th minute as the two squads split the points for the second straight time, allowing the Philippines to stay on top of Group F with eight points in four matches.
Yemen fell to a share of third with Tajikistan at six points, though the latter is ahead on goal differences. With the two teams slated to drop points when they meet on November 14, the Philippines could clinch qualification it they beat also-ran Nepal when the Azkals visit Kathmandu.
Tawfik Ali scored the opener in the 63rd minute for Yemen, barely beating Neil Etheridge as he sent his ball on the near post.
The equalizer came just in the nick of time for the Azkals as Junior Munoz' strong run on the right flank opened things up, as he recovered the ball and sent it to Phil Younghusband up the middle.
Younghusband then sent it off to Paul Mulders who threaded a pass on the onside Ott to salvage the point for the Azkals.