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AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: Gerrit Holtmann makes grand debut as late strike gives Azkals win vs. Mongolia

Gerrit Holtmann made an impression in his Azkals debut. AFC
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Indeed, Gerrit Holtmann was what the Philippine Azkals have waited for in their bid to make the AFC Asian Cup again.

Holtmann scored with only a few seconds left from full-time as the Azkals stunned Asian Cup Qualifiers Group B host Mongolia in the end with a 1-0 win on Saturday at the MFF Training Center in Ulaanbaatar.

Despite only having a few days to train following his arrival in the Mongolian capital right after the Azkals' draw against Yemen, Holtmann proved to be the difference for them as he struck the game-winner with only 20 seconds to go.

The play began when Manny Ott found Holtmann open with his corner kick, and Holtmann dribbled a bit to get some separation from Tuguldur Munkh-Erdene before launching a powerful shot that Munkh-Erdene Enkhtaivar could not tap out.

Mongolia was given a chance to go for one last crack at goal, but Manny Ott cleared the ball out to the sideline after Oyunbaatar Otgonbayar tried to sneak it in from the midfield.

Holtmann's late goal somehow made up for Patrick Reichelt's missed penalty in the 78th minute that could have given the Azkals the lead earlier.

Moreso, Holtmann's winner spoiled an impressive outing from Enkhtaivar, who aside from saving Reichelt's penalty also saved Dylan De Bruycker's close-range shot just before Holtmann won it for the Azkals.

The win momentarily put the Azkals on top of Group B with four points, but Palestine and Yemen will play later Saturday with the result surely to shake up the three teams' bid to make the Asian Cup next year.

Meanwhile, Mongolia has been knocked out of Asian Cup contention with the stinging defeat.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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