Four-star Philippines in semis



(Phil Younghusband 15, Manuel Ott 52, Martin Steuble 68, Rob Gier 79)


The Philippines booked their place in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup yesterday with a 4-0 win over 10-man Indonesia at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

The Philippines followed up their 4-1 victory over Laos last Saturday to register their second straight win in Group A and secure a place in the last four of the eight-nation tournament.

The Azkals took the lead after just 15 minutes when striker Phil Younghusband converted from the penalty spot after Misagh Bahadoran was pulled down in the box.

Midfielder Manuel Ott made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute with a long-range shot before Martin Steuble added a third in the 68th minute after Younghusband caught the Indonesian defence napping with a quickly taken free-kick.

Substitute Rob Gier completed the rout in the 79th minute shortly after Indonesia's Rizki Pora was shown a straight red card for taking down Younghusband as he was bearing down on goal.

Former United States captain and now Philippines coach Thomas Dooley said that he was delighted with the win which was the result of a great team performance.

"I am obviously very happy that we have reached the semi-finals (after just) the second game, as we didn't expect that when we came over here," he said.

"An excellent (team) performance, you cannot play better in the situation we were in and that's why I am proud of everyone.

"I think we controlled the game from the very beginning. We had even more chances to score a goal, but I am happy with 4-0."

In the second Group A match last night, co-hosts Vietnam moved within touching distance of the semi-finals after goals from Vu Minh Tuan, Le Cong Vinh and Nguyen Huy Hung secured a 3-0 win against Laos at My Dinh Stadium.

Minh Tuan opened the scoring for the 2008 winners, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Indonesia in the opening match, midway through the first half.

Late goals from recalled striker Cong Vinh and Huy Hung denied a hardworking Laos side who had defended deeply for the majority of the contest, reported the official AFF Suzuki Cup website.

And, with the Philippines securing qualification for the semi-finals with a game to spare, Vietnam can follow suit with Toshiya Miura's side needing only a draw against the Azkals on Friday to return to the knockout stage, having failed to progress in 2012. - Wire Services.

AFF Suzuki Cup