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Rough AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign for U23 Azkals ends

THE Philippine U23 Azkals lost to Timor-Leste, 0-1 on Sunday in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Group H match to end their campaign without a win. — ASIAN FOOTBALL CONFEDERATION

THE country’s Under-23 (U23) men’s football team ended what turned out to be a rough campaign in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qualifiers in Singapore on Sunday without a victory to show for.

Looking to finish their bid on a high note with a victory after dropping their first two matches in Group H of the qualifiers, the U23 Azkals instead absorbed another defeat, 0-1, at the hands of Timor-Leste at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The Philippine side held its opponent to a nil-nil count for much of the contest until forward Zenivio Mota broke through for Timor-Leste in the 89th minute.

Mr. Mota found himself open inside the box and did not waste the opportunity to score and give his team the win.

The Azkals scrambled to get back the point after, including inside the added three minutes, but could not catch the break it was angling for.

The defeat was the third straight for the Philippine U23 team, following defeats to Korea, 0-3, and Singapore, 0-1, previously.

Korea advanced to the U23 Asian Cup in Group H with an unblemished 3-0 record and nine points, with Singapore and Timor-Leste tied for second with a record 1-1-1 and four points.

The AFC U23 Asian Cup is set for June next year in Uzbekistan. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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