Mike Ott scored a late equalizer to rescue the Philippine Azkals from the jaws of defeat with a 1-1 draw against Yemen Tuesday night to remain on top of Group F in the third round of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers at the Al Wakra Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Ott, the diminutive Fil-German midfielder, received Paul Mulders’ quick pass from the edge of the box before firing a right-footed shot with a minute before stoppage time, thus allowing the Azkals to escape the Qatari capital with a point while maintaining their hold on the top spot in the group.
The Azkals of coach Thomas Dooley have now compiled eight points in four matches, two clear of Yemen and Tajikistan, which posted a 3-0 victory over Nepal in the other Group F match in Dushanbe.
It also puts the Azkals closer toward claiming their first-ever Asian Cup appearance. They need to score a win either against Tajikistan at home or Nepal on the road in their last two qualifying matches in order to achieve the historic feat.
It appeared as though the Azkals were heading for defeat with Yemen, getting plenty of chances right from the get-go, delivering the opening goal through Tawfik Ali’s tap-in off a set piece past the hour mark.