by Jonas Terrado
The Philippine Azkals suffered a 2-0 semifinal loss to Tajikistan on Tuesday to bow out of the Bangabandhu Cup in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Despite solid effort by veteran goalkeeper Michael Casas in manning the sticks, the Azkals couldn’t prevent their foes from scoring the opener in the first half before their fate was sealed with a late goal that confirmed Tajikistan’s place in the final.
Komron Tursunov finally got Tajikistan on the board in the 32nd minute after multiple saves by Casas since the opening kickoff while Akhtam Nazarov added a second in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
The national booters came close to reaching the final of the mini-tournament despite sending what many described as a “B” team due to the absence of notable Azkals mainstays.
Among the players who skipped the competition were brothers Phil and James Younghusband and Stephan Schrock.