AFC Challenge Cup: Azkals Hold Palestine, Stay Alive

The Azkals settled for a scoreless draw against Palestine on Wednesday to keep their slim hope of moving into the AFC Challenge Cup main draw.

Held to a draw for the second-straight match, the Azkals must now beat Bangladesh to grab at least second place in Group A and advance to the tournament proper of the Challenge Cup. A loss or a draw against Bangladesh on Friday will end the Azkals’ campaign, which was badly hurt when the Filipinos surrendered a one-goal lead against Myanmar in stoppage time on Monday. Bangladesh dominated Myanmar on Wednesday, 2-0, to grab second place in the four-team group and put enormous pressure on the Azkals.

The Azkals had a big chance to break the scoreless spell in the 64th minute of their match against Palestine, but Emelio Caligdong’s close-range shot was blocked and Yanti Basrales, who five minutes earlier replaced Ian Araneta, failed to convert the rebound. Earlier, Palestine star Murad Eleyan, who scored his team’s two goals against Bangladesh on Monday, wasted a golden opportunity when his 18th-minute strike hit the post.