Philippines national team put on a solid display to hold China PR to a goalless draw in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City on Tuesday.
Thanks to the heroics of Cardiff City FC star Neil Etheridge between the sticks and the likes of Alvaro Silva in the defence, the Azkals managed to earn a point against a Chinese side to whom they lost 3-0 in the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 earlier this year.
With 4️⃣ rounds of the @FIFAWorldCup qualifiers played, it’s time to look at how the ASEAN contenders performed over the past week‼️
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) October 16, 2019
Scott Cooper’s side had lost 5-2 to Syria in their opener in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round, but bounced back with a 4-1 win over Guam in Dededo in their second outing.
The goalless draw against Marcello Lippi’s China in their third game means that they have four points from three matches and sit third in Group A, five points behind leaders Syria and three behind Team Dragon.
The enormity of the feat that the Azkals achieved against China, that featured the likes of RCD Espanyol forward Wu Lei and newly-naturalised Elkeson, is signified by the fact that in doing so, Philippines became the first ASEAN side to get at least a point against China in the World Cup Qualifiers for over six decades.
The last time an ASEAN side grabbed a point against China was Indonesia back in 1957 when Tim Garuda eliminated them from the 1958 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in the AFC first round — 62 years 4 months 9 days ago!
Indonesia and China had competed in the first round of the 1958 World Cup Qualifiers with Indonesia defeating China 2-0 in the first match held at the Ikada Stadium in Jakarta thanks to a brace from Indonesia great Ramang.
However, China bounced back with a 4-3 win over Timnas at the Xiannongtan Stadium in Beijing. With both sides collecting three points after the two games, a play-off at a neutral venue was scheduled to decide which team made it to the second round.
Philippines got 1 point vs China on Tuesday thus became the 1st ASEAN nations getting 1 or 3 pts against China in the World Cup qualifying since 1958, when Indonesia eliminated China in the preliminary round of the 1958 World Cup qualifying. After that it was 18 wins in a row. pic.twitter.com/7iEKW4ivts
— Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) October 16, 2019
That game was played at the Aung San Stadium in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon in Myanmar), but the match remained goalless after extra time.
Indonesia were the ones who progressed though due to their better goal average as penalty shootouts were yet to be invented back in the 1950s!
Unfortunately, that was also the end of Indonesia’s 1958 World Cup qualification as the team withdrew from the second round after FIFA rejected their request to play Israel on a neutral ground.
After that defeat, China have recorded 18 straight victories against ASEAN sides in the World Cup Qualifiers over the years. But it looks like, the Southeast Asian nations are now starting to catch up!
(Photos credit: Philippine Football Federation)