WCQ: PH booters suffer 0-2 away defeat vs. Indonesia

Photo from AFC

by Drew Malihan

JAKARTA - The Philippine men's national football team will go back to Manila winless in their June 2024 window of the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers as they conceded to rivals Indonesia 0-2 inside a roaring Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

National team manager Tom Saintfiet made one significant change from the Vietnam lineup, replacing long-time captain and first-choice keeper Neil Etheridge with Kevin Ray Mendoza, while Patrick Reichelt wore the captain's armband.

The Garudas were the more aggressive side from the first whistle as Marselino Ferdinan, Justin Hubner, and Thom Haye kept knocking on the PMNFT's defense but Mendoza and center-back Jesper Nyholm kept the defense anchored.

It wasn't until the 31st minute when Haye, who played for SC Heerenveen in the Netherlands, scored a long goal from a fast break to give Indo a 1-0 lead, which lasted for the entirety of the first half.

The Filipinos have a better defense to start the second half but a set-piece in the 55th minute found Persija's Rizky Ridho who heads the ball past Mendoza to make it 2-0 for the home team.

The men in blue attempted several shots on Indonesia's defense but Calvin Verdonk and Jay Idzes led the Garuda's defense to keep the clean sheet.

An 84th-minute set piece attempt turned to a worry as Adrian Ugelvik clashed with Indonesian keeper Ernando Ari Sutaryadi, with Ugelvik falling down face first to the pitch and needing to be stretchered out of the playing area.

With all substitutions used by the Philippines, they held on with ten men on the field and prevented any Indonesian attempts to add more to the tally,

With the win, Indonesia overtook Vietnam to grab a seat in the third round of the World Cup qualifiers as well as a sure seat to the 2027 AFC Asian Cup, while the Philippines will end in fourth place of Group F with only a draw and five losses in their campaign.

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