The Philippine national men’s football team saw the end of its 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup journey after bowing to defending champion Thailand, 1-nil, on a rainy Friday night at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
The Azkals surrendered a goal to Thailand’s Sarawut Masuk at the 81st minute after Filipinos held their own against the reigning titlists who rested their top players in the match.
Thailand, which went unbeaten in three matches, and Indonesia, which rallied past Singapore, 2-1, on the same night, advanced to the knockout stages.
It was a disappointing outcome for the Azkals who had made the semifinals of the biennial tournament for three straight times from 2010 to 2016.
They also suffered the early exit while hosting the Suzuki Cup group stages for the very first time.
The Azkals, who controlled much of the possessions the entire match, attempted 13 shots on the goal, seven of which were on target.
Their best chances came at the 58th minute when Misagh Bahadoran launched a good header, and at the 67th minute when Phil Younghusband and Stephan Schrock found great attempts at the goal.
But none of them converted. Masuk then broke the Azkals’ hearts with a shot off a Prakit Deeprom assist late in the match to notch the victory for Thailand.
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