|Louie Casas turned back the clock as the Azkals pip the host side to conclude Group B play in Sylhet. PFL photo|
By Kevin Estrada
Despite a raucous home support, the Philippines came to Sylhet to silence the home side, where they prevailed by the slimmest of winning scorelines to top Group B of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup Friday evening.
It took a scoring debut for Kenshiro Daniels and a solid throwback goalkeeping by Louie Casas to give Anto Gonzales his second win in as many matches, and will have to wait for tomorrow to face the Group A runner-up.
Right from the opening whistle, Bangladesh went direct, taking the first chance just four minutes in, when Mohammed Rahmat Mia's long throw-in found the head of skipper Topu Barman, but Louie Casas foiled their attack not just once, but twice in that stretch.
However, it was the Azkals who took the lead to silence Sylhet in the 24th minute, when Misagh Bahadoran picked out Kenshiro Daniels just inside the box and the former Kaya winger made no mistake with his right foot to open his national goal-scoring account on his 21st cap.
Despite the deficit, Bangladesh continued their attack, and almost had an equalizer six minutes before half-time, but Casas again became the hero once again after keeping the ball from going into the net from Robiul Hasan's corner to preserve the lead at the break.
The home side then continued their onslaught in the second half as they look for an equalizer, but Casas turned back the clock to deny the Bengal Tigers numerous times to preserve the 1-0 scoreline, scraping past numerous goalmouth scrambles after every Bangladeshi corner to get his second straight shutout.
Philippines: Casas (GK), Sarmiento (Barbaso 46'), Clariño, Aguinaldo, Alquiros, Marvin Angeles (Arboleda 60'), Marwin Angeles, Minegishi, Daniels (Marasigan 85'), Bedic, Bahadoran (C)
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