Azkals dead, buried

January 17, 2019

KYRGYZSTAN ended the Philippines’ first-ever AFC Asian Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai Wednesday.

A superb hat-trick from Vitalij Lux was enough for the Central Asian side to secure a place in the tournament’s knockout stage.

It was the Azkals’ third successive defeat which brought their campaign to an end, although Stephan Shrock did make history by scoring the country’s maiden AFC Asian Cup goal in the 80th minute.

Lux scored in the first half and found the back of the net twice in the second to help Kyrgyzstan finish third in Group C behind South Korea and China.

With the match already beyond recall, the Philippines made sure that it wouldn’t go home goalless in the tournament, as Shrock produced a spectacular long-range free-kick late in the second half.

The result, along with Vietnam’s 2-0 win over Yemen in Al Ain three hours later, assured the Kyrgyzs of their position as one of the four highest ranked third-place teams.

The former Soviet Republic immediately assumed the role of aggressors, keeping the Azkals at bay, while creating several scoring chances.

The Philippines faced a world-class opposition in its Asian Cup debut.

The Azkals gave the Koreans everything to handle before dropping a 0-1 result in their group stage opener and suffered a reality check following a 0-3 trashing from the hands of the Chinese.