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Resolute Azkals force a stalemate against Indonesia

Oh Captain My Captain. Phil Younghusband delivered in the clutch for the country, scoring in his fourth AFF Championship in a row, setting a Philippine record in the process (file photo)

By Kevin Estrada

BOCAUE -- The dream is still alive.

Showing their character and heart amidst all adversity, the Philippines came from a goal twice in both halves to force a game Indonesia side into a 2-2 draw to somehow keep their hopes of advancing to the AFF Suzuki Cup alive Tuesday night at the Philippine Sports Stadium.

Misagh Bahadoran and captain Phil Younghusband come up with the respective strikes as the Azkals had to withstand the blinding speed and the pressing game of the visitors to rescue a point between the two sides to retain the second spot in group A by a point.

The draw set up a thrilling final day on Friday in which both teams and Singapore, who lost to group winners Thailand earlier, have a shot to nick a precious second spot and progression to the knockout stage in the process

Indonesia's enterprising play caught the hosts by surprise, and were duly rewarded just seven minutes in by Fachruddin Ariyanto who scored on a bouncing header on a Stefano Lillipaly's free kick, ending the country's homestand of 366 minutes without conceding a goal.

The Azkals tried to reply numerous times thru Manny and Mike Ott since then to beat Kurnia Meiga Hermansyah since then before the Global skipper ended our scoreless drought at home on the 31st minute with a toe poke on a Stephan Schrock free kick to level the match, as both teams end the first half at 1-1.

Second half was a continuation of the first, with the free flowing nature of the match from both sides got the 2,000 in attendance in Bocaue on their feet.

Roland Muller displayed an improved netminding, denying Evan Dimas twice before he was beaten in the 68th minute when Andik Vermansyah's shot that hit the post was slotted home by Indonesia skipper Boaz Solossa for his second goal of the tournament.

But showing their never-say-die attitude, the Azkals equalized with eight minutes left on the match, with Younghusband finally beats Meiga with a curling free kick to the top left corner for his 43rd international strike.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada