Azkals vs Turkmenistan Game Result - AFC Challenge Cup 2012 Semifinals Game

The Philippine Azkals' dream run in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup ended in nightmare when they held a 1-0 lead going into the 80th minute, but then conceded two goals to Turkmenistan in the semifinals of the tournament in Kathmandu on Friday.

The goals from Arslamyrat Amanov and Gahrymanberdi Chonkayev in the 80th and 86th minutes allowed the Green Men to barge into the finals of the 2012 AFC Asian Cup.

Amanov equalized with a long blast from the midfield, while Chonkayev eluded three defenders, including Juan Luis Guirado, who he outfoxed before sending a volley past goalie Neil Etheridge for the winning goal.

It was the Green Men's second win over the Azkals after scoring a 5-0 rout of the Filipinos in 2009.

A goal by Phil Younghusband, who latched on two across by Paul Mulders off an excellent pass by Carli de Murga, gave the Azkals a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute and sent the spirits of the Filipino fans soaring. It was Younghusband's 22nd goal in international matches for the Philippines and clearly established his credentials as a top-class striker.

Although the youthful Turkmenistan side launched wave after wave of attack seeking an equalizer, the Azkals' defense held firm, with Etheridge proving to be a tower of strength between the posts.

Some seven minutes later, off a swift counter-attack, Younghusband volleyed one straight at the Turkmenistan goalkeeper, who made a great save.

Jason de Jong, who occasionally broke right through the Turkmenistan defense, took a crack from some 30 yards out, but again the Turkmenistan goalie couldn't be beaten.

The Azkals' defense under increasing pressure, however, dropped down, even as the midfielders began to fade, and it came as no real surprise when Turkmenistan scored in the 80th minute to level the score at 1-1.

Despite some runs and bursts of counter-attacks, the Azkals were gradually broken down both physically and psychologically, and another defensive lapse enabled the Turkmenistan side to go ahead, 2-1, in the 85th minute.

The frustration of the Azkals clearly showed when Etheridge lost his composure for a split second and kicked Akmyrat Jumanzarov in the back of his foot after clearing a Turkmenistan offensive.

After giving Etheridge a yellow card, the referee consulted the linesman, who suggested it should be a straight red, which the referee proceeded to show Neil.

Disgusted with himself and pained by the loss, Etheridge ripped his jersey off and walked straight to the dugout, while substitute Carlie De Murga was tested twice by an aggressive Turkmenistan forward line, but rose to the occasion with two good saves.

Etheridge will be missed when the Azkals fight for third place on Monday against the winner of the match between North Korea and Palestine.

The Philippine Azkals obviously missed the services of Angel Guirado and James Younghusband, who were forced to sit out with successive yellow cards in the game against Tajikistan. The team also missed an injured Jason Sabio.

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