Etheridge saves the day as Azkals force China to goalless draw

Stephan Schrock and the rest of the Azkals held their fort against China. PFF/AFC
By Gil Moriones

MANILA - In a historic night at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, the Philippines was able to hold off and cut the victory streak of China PR in the second window of the second round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as they settled for a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night.

It was Neil Etheridge who came to the rescue after he denied the uncovered attempt from Hao Junmin in added time.

The strategic defensive tactics for Scoot Cooper diminished the competitive attempts of the red shirts despite their dominating stats in terms of set pieces and shot attempts. 

However, the Azkals went strong as they pressed enough the Chinese defense to get some light in their offensive stand. 

The Azkals got great chances from Daisuke Sato and Mark Hartmann late in the first half, but their shots failed to hit the target.

Hartmann rifled another shot from distance after he stole the ball from China but Chinese keeper Yan Junling saved it easily.

Wu Lei, who burned his energy in offensive campaign for China, successfully passed Justin Baas and Alvaro Silva, but his attempt went wide at the 65th minute. 

At the last 10 minutes of the game, Iain Ramsay flicked the feed to Angel Guirado who controlled the ball before he took the shot which went wide. 

It was the first draw of the Philippines in all of their encounters with China since their last win way back in 1919, wherein they won 2-1.

The Philippines will go overseas as they will face Maldives in Male on Nov. 14 and Syria on Nov. 19 in Dubai.

Follow him on Twitter: @GilMoriones