Azkals enter Asian Cup after beating Tajikistan

MANILA — Another chapter in the Azkals’ colorful history has just been written.

The national football team booked a place in next year’s AFC Asian Cup, defeating Tajikistan, 2-1, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.

Kevin Ingreso made up for a costly error at the middle of the second half as he scored the needed goal for the Filipino squad before giving Phil Younghusband an opening to achieve a milestone.

Ingreso committed a foul inside the penalty box, leading to Nazarov Akhtam’s penalty goal in the 63rd minute, putting the 4,679 people-strong crowd into silence.

However, Ingreso bounced back with a wide-open header in the 74th minute as the Azkals, who actually needed only a draw to qualify, made it 1-all.

Ingreso then found Patrick Reichelt inside the box in the 89th minute only that the latter was fouled by Akhtam, giving the Azkals a spot kick.

Phil Younghusband slotted the penalty in as he recorded his 50th international goal, joining an elite list of globally-recognized strikers.

The Azkals topped Group F with 12 points, while Tajikistan remained at seven points and that it is eliminated from contention.