AFC ASIAN CUP 2019 QUALIFIERS: TAJIKISTAN 3-4 PHILIPPINES
Dushanbe: Daisuke Sato’s spectacular solo strike with 11 minutes remaining proved the difference as the Philippines edged out Tajikistan 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller in Tuesday’s 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier.
The Philippines looked to be on course for a comfortable second consecutive three points in Group F as an eye-catching free-kick from captain Phil Younghusband and strikes from Javier Patino either side of half-time had Thomas Dooley’s side leading 3-0 after 48 minutes at Republican Central Stadium.
But a penalty from Parvizdzhon Umarboev and strike from Dilshod Vasiev gave the capacity home crowd hope of a dramatic turnaround.
But with Sato drilling home from outside of the penalty area, Manuchekhr Dzhalilov’s cool finish with two minutes remaining could not stop Tajikistan suffering a second defeat of the campaign.
The Philippines, meanwhile, top the table with a 100% record after two games following March’s 4-1 home win over Nepal, with Yemen two points adrift in second place after their earlier goalless draw in Kathmandu.
Younghusband, having scored twice against Nepal, opened the scoring after 28 minutes with a superb free-kick from the centre of the goal that curled and dipped past goalkeeper Abduaziz Mahkamov.
China-based Patino then doubled the visitors’ lead four minutes before half-time after an eye-catching build up, before adding a second three minutes into the second half.
But after Umarboev’s penalty three minutes before the hour mark gave the home side hope, Vasiev rounded off a swift counterattack four minutes later as Tajikistan further reduced the deficit.
Sato, though, crucially restored the Philippines’ lead with a rasping strike which gave Mahkamov no chance, leaving Dzhalilov’s shot across Patrick Deyto only turning into a late consolation for the home side.