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Azkals salvage draw with Yemen

Game on Oct. 10
(Doha, Qatar)
11 p.m. – Yemen vs Philippines

James Younghusband scored an equalizing goal in the second half to help the Philippine Azkals salvage a 2-2 draw with Yemen in their 2019 Asian Cup third round qualifiers match Tuesday at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

Younghusband, who turned 31 on the eve of the match, headed the tying score off a free kick in the 71st minute, allowing the Azkals to a split a point with the Yemeni side despite moments of defensive lapses in their first major international match in the City of Smiles since Feb. 2011.

The tie kept the Azkals on top of Group F with seven points halfway into the third round qualifiers. They are two points clear of Yemen and four off third placer Tajikistan, which posted 2-1 win over Nepal in Kathmandu.

Both teams will meet anew on Oct. 10 with Yemen hosting the match on a neutral site in Doha, Qatar.

The top two teams advance to the Asian Cup – the region’s biggest football competition which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Coach Thomas Dooley’s Azkals overcame being down twice to escape with a draw.

Yemen scored the opener on a diving header by Mudir Al Radaei from a set piece in the 27th.

But Phil Younghusband immediately cancelled that goal when he fired a long free kick into the back of the net from 30 yards out three minutes later – the 47th of his international career.

Abdulwasea Al Matari, however, put Yemen back in front before the hour mark, when he cut past Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to score on an empty net.

James, who came on as a substitute after halftime, perfectly placed Manny Ott’s free kick into the bottom corner, much to the delight of nearly 3,000 fans.