AFF Suzuki Cup: Philippines hold Indonesia to thrilling 2-2 draw

John Duerden
The Philippines' Amani Aguinaldo, left, leaps high to control the ball during their AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Group A final round against Indonesia at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue township, Bulacan province north of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. The match ended up 2-2. In center is Indonesian team captain Boas Salossa (7) and at right is the Philippines' Misagh Bahadoran. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
The Philippines' Amani Aguinaldo, left, leaps high to control the ball during their AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Group A final round against Indonesia at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue township, Bulacan province north of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. The match ended up 2-2. In center is Indonesian team captain Boas Salossa (7) and at right is the Philippines' Misagh Bahadoran. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

The Philippines drew 2-2 against Indonesia in the second game of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup on Tuesday, leaving the co-host needing to defeat Thailand in the final Group A game on Friday to progress to the knockout stages.

It was a thrilling and open game in which Indonesia took the lead twice but were pegged back by the Philippines.

Indonesia drew first blood after just seven minutes thanks to Fachruddin Aryanto, with the centre-back taking advantage of some lax defending to head home from close range.

The Philippines came storming back in a bid to find the equaliser and were rewarded on the half hour as striker Misagh Bahadoran connected to the inswinging free-kick from midfield star Stephan Schrock before the Indonesian defence.

Indonesia had the better chances and were denied by the woodwork more than once, but after 68 minutes managed to get a deserved goal.

Talented winger Andik Vermansyah, who had hit the post moments before, let fly with a fierce drive from outside the area that also hit the woodwork.

This time, however, veteran midfielder Boaz Salossa was on hand to slot home the rebound from close range.

The Philippines were heading for a disastrous defeat, but with eight minutes remaining Phil Younghusband curled a delightful free-kick in to the top corner. It was the first goal for the captain, currently playing in midfield, in two years.

“I just concentrated on my technique and making sure I got it on target,” Younghusband told Philippines television after the game.

Coach Thomas Dooley was delighted with his skipper, saying, “It was time he got success with the way he has been playing and the way he played today. The goal was outstanding.”

The former American international was satisfied with the result of the match.

“It was an exciting game for the fans but not so much for the coaches,” he said. “But overall, I think 2-2 is okay and we can both live with that.”

For Indonesia's coach Alfred Riedl, he could only just live with it.

“There were lots of chances ...but we should have won,” said the Austrian. “We were unlucky but football is like this. We now have one point and it is difficult for us to go to the next round.”

The result means Indonesia must defeat Singapore on Friday and hope that the Philippines fail to overcome Thailand, who are already through.

“Thailand is the favourite against the Philippines," said Riedl. "We are 50-50 with Singapore though we try and play more offensive football but Singapore play with nine or 10 players around the box... it is too early to talk about how we will play against them.”

For the Philippines, the task is better and worse. Their fate is in their own hands as a victory over Thailand will be enough, The Azkals, however, have never beaten the Thais, but their coach remains optimistic.

“We still have a chance," said Dooley. "We ran a lot, we played some nice combinations, created some good chances. The team will be ready for Friday and we know what we have to do.

“Thailand don't want to lose and will want to play as well as they can. They don't want to lose to us for the first time.”