PROVING why it is the Philippines’ main roadblock to the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup main tournament next year, Turkmenistan walloped Cambodia, 7-0, on Friday night in the opener of the Group E qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The team that denied the Azkals a spot in the Challenge Cup Finals last year, Turkmenistan encountered little resistance from their luckless Southeast Asian opponents to score the blowout victory that gained for them the early lead in the standings.
The resounding result also piled more pressure on the Filipino booters to also pull off a similarly emphatic victory when they take on Cambodia in their debut on Sunday.
“It’s a good result for us. But our next match is more important,” Turkmenistan coach Hojageldiyev Yazguly said through an interpreter, referring to their game against the Azkals on Tuesday.
Vladimir Bayramov fired a brace, while five others found the back of the net for Turkmenistan, which won an utter mismatch that saw the Central Asian country lead in attempts (27-13), including 13-0 on goal, and 7-3 on corner kicks.
Ranked five spots ahead of the 145th-placed Azkals in the Fifa rankings, the Turkmen put the outcome beyond doubt as early as the first half, when they drew four goals from Amanov Arslanmyrat (7’), Bayramov (23’, 36’), and an own goal from Cambodian defender Om Tharvak four minutes before first-half stoppage time.
Turkmenistan sustained the scoring spree after the restart as Shamuradov Berdy (73’), Guvanch Abylov (81’), and Gurbangeldi Batyrov (87’) struck for the squad.