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PHL booters force fancied Singapore to 1-1 draw

December 2, 2010 11:18pm
The Philippines drew with three-time champion Singapore, 1-1, in their opening Group B match in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2010 at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam on Thursday.

Chris Greatwich, receiving a pass from James Younghusband, booted home the tying goal in injury time as the Philippines earned a rare point in the month-long tournament.

"Now they can see that we are no longer pushovers," said an elated team manager Dan Palami. "Before the game, people here were talking about how many goals they (Singapore) would score against us. Now everybody is taking notice."

Singapore – winners of the 1998, 2004 and 2007 editions – failed to impose its will against the Filipinos early in the match.

The Filipino booters showed that they were not intimidated by the Singaporeans, who had most of the players from its back-to-back winning team in its roster.

Singapore's Jumaat Jantan attempted to score early in the match but was foiled twice by the Philippines' goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

It was only in the 65th minute that Singapore found a hole in the Philippines' defense when Aleksandar Duric netted one home.

With still a lot of time left, for either the Philippines to tie the match or their opponents score an insurance goal, the Singaporeans played to milk the clock until Greatwich struck in injury time.

"We just worked on trying to make ourselves very difficult to beat because we know we always carry the threat," said PHL British coach Simon McMenemy. "We worked very hard to keep our shape to keep our discipline and we got lucky with a couple of minutes to go. The passion of these boys shown is just unbelievable."

"Congratulations to the Philippines because they fought for 90 minutes and took two points away from us," said Raddy Avramovic, Singapore’s Serbian coach.

Next up for the Filipino booters is host and defending champion Vietnam on Sunday (December 5) before it wraps up its campaign against Myanmar on December 8. – Jon Perez, GMANews.TV
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