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Azkals book Suzuki Cup semis return after historic away draw against Indonesia

Jovin Bedic and the Philippines return to the semifinal of the AFF Suzuki Cup after getting a historic away draw at Indonesia. AFF Suzuki Cup
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--The Philippines will face Vietnam in the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal after getting an improbable draw against Indonesia in Jakarta's Gelora Bung Karno Sunday evening.

It was a historic result for the Azkals, who have waited for eight painful years to get a measure of revenge against the beleaguered side to wrap up their unbeaten campaign in Group B as runners-up with eight points, as they set their sights on the 2008 champions in the first leg of the semifinal in Bacolod next week.

Even the loss will even suffice, as Thailand's 3-0 win over Singapore in Bangkok's Rajamangala  in the other group tie ensured that Sven-Göran Eriksson will be in his first-ever semifinal appearance on his colorful international managerial career, even surpassing his run with England where he reached the quarterfinals thrice in a row.

"Well, it's not easy to play here. A draw is OK," said the former Three Lions boss after the match.

The legendary Swede was right to say that as the cavernous nature of Senayan had most of the visitors here already intimidated before the opening whistle but not them as they had their close shaves to pull a huge shocker to the already eliminated side.

However, both sides could not find the back of the net, and the visitors had to leave Jakarta more wounded as skipper Phil Younghusband left the match with a gash to the head after being at the wrong end of the aerial challenge with Fachruddin Aryanto.

That did not even deter them for the duration of the match, as they got the better quality in their chances, notwithstanding was Daisuke Sato's ambitious shot that Andritany palmed away over the bar.

The Persija man, who has issues on his shoulder, had to be on call as Manny Ott tested him twice in the waning moments, with the Ceres-Negros midfielder ruing that they could have gone ahead even for just once.

Still, the draw was all they need to book their return to the last four at the expense of the same side who had booted them out two years ago.

Indonesia: Andritany (GK), Putu Gede, Zulfiandi, Evan Dimas, Beto Goncalves, Lilipaly, Rizky Pora, Aryanto, Andik (Irfan Jaya 71'), Hansamu (C) (Saputra 90'), Simanjuntak

Philippines: Falkesgaard (GK), De Murga, Manny Ott, Phil YH (C) (Dizon 26') , Sato, Schröck (James YH 80'), Steuble, Bedic (Ingreso 75'), Reichelt, Alvaro Silva, Strauss

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada