AFC Challenge Cup 2012

March 15, 2012 by staff 

AFC Challenge Cup 2012, Filipino booters bucked a wobbly first half to defeat former titlists Tajikistan, 2-1, as they marched into the semifinals of the 2012 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup in Nepal.

Trailing by one goal, lead striker Phil Younghusband pulled off the equalizer in the 53rd minute when he fired the ball into the empty net off a pass from Angel Guirado.

Guirado then made the much-needed cushion in the 79th minute after he scored the header to ice the match as the Philippines qualified in the Final Four for the first time since the tournament’s establishment in 2006.

Cheers erupted inside the Halchowk Stadium as players hugged each other in the pitch after they pulled the rug from under the favored Tajiks, winners of the inaugural competition made for lower-ranked Asian nations.

Prior to Tuesday’s feat, both squads are locked in second place, courtesy of an identical 1-1-0 (win-loss) slate. The Philippines last faced Tajikistan in the qualifying round of the 2008 edition but that ended in a goalless draw.

Tajikistan, eleven places higher than the Philippines (rank no. 156) in the Fifa rankings, took the upperhand in first half injury time via a header of Alexey Negmatov.

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