Match Report: Philippines 0-2 China

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – Unable to sustain a strong first-half performance, the Philippines absorbed a 0-2 loss to China last Monday night in the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Joint Qualifiers at Sharjah Stadium.

The Azkals neutralized the favored Chinese goalless in a spirited first half display, but conceded twice in a nine-minute span in the second period.

Even with the defeat, the Azkals remain in third spot with seven points in Group A, while the Chinese hiked their tally to 13 points.

China collected four out of a possible six points from the Philippines, which held the Chinese to a goalless draw in Bacolod in their first meeting last October 2019.

Five players made their debut for coach Scott Cooper with Bernd Schipmann starting on goal, while Jeff Tabinas played alongside veteran Carlie De Murga in central defense.

Oli Bias, 19, got the nod on the left taking an advanced position with Michael Kempter just behind. Midfielder Mark Winhoffer came in as a second half substitute for Mike Ott.

The Azkals lost Kempter due to a broken nose early on, after he was elbowed by Tiang Mao. Kenshiro Daniels, who was recalled after a long absence, also limped off due to a hamstring issue with Jarvey Gayoso entering the match in the 31st minute.

The Azkals stayed compact and disciplined in the first half while Mark Hartmann and Angel Guirado provided the attacking outlet when they had possession.

The best chance of the first half fell to Mark Hartmann, whose weak effort was cleared off the line in the 21st minute.

Guirado’s cross found Hartmann at the far post in the 34th minute, but the header back to the six-yard box was cleared by Yan Junling.

A period of sustained pressure saw the Chinese finally break the deadlock. Wu Lei raced through on goal only to be clipped by Schipmann for a penalty.

Wu Lei stepped up to convert the penalty, but the Chinese weren’t done yet. A cross from the left found Wu Xinghan at the far post to finish from a tight angle.

The Azkals look to bounce back as they battle Guam on Friday, before taking on Maldives on June 15.