World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers wrap: Singapore stumble, Philippines roar

The second round of qualifiers ended on Tuesday night with Singapore finishing on a disappointing note while Philippines gave Southeast Asia a huge cheer by upsetting North Korea. 

Singapore unable to give Stange perfect send-off

Even though Singapore had already qualified for the next round of the Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers, they were still expected to give Afghanistan a good fight in their final Group E game.

However, the Afghans were easily the more dominant team and they won 2-1 thanks to goals from Khaibar Amani and Josef Shirdel.

Fazrul Nawaz pulled one back for the Lions but it could not prevent a losing farewell for Singapore head coach Bernd Stange.

The game was Bernd Stange’s last match in charge, as he will be allowing his contract, which lasts till 15 April, to run out.

Singapore finished third in the group with ten points, eight behind Syria and 12 behind group winners Japan.

Cambodia was also in Group E but they finished last.

Azkals come from behind to stun North Korea

After many years of waiting, Philippines have seemingly come good as they came from a goal down to beat North Korea 3-2.

The Azkals had taken the lead in the 44th minute through Misagh Bahadoran but Kyong Jin So equalised for the visitors a minute later.

North Korea would then take the lead three minutes after the restart but Philippines dug deep and popped up with a late Manuel Ott equaliser.

There was to be more drama in additional time as Iain Ramsay came off the bench to strike a last-minute winner.

Philippines’ win saw them overtaking Bahrain to finish third in Group H with ten points, six behind North Korea and 11 behind Uzbekistan.

They progressed to the next round of the Asian Cup qualifiers.

Myanmar’s stock just keeps rising

After putting in an impressive shift despite losing to Singapore 2-1 in an international friendly, Myanmar finished on a high in Group G by holding Lebanon to a 1-1 draw.

The White Angels were so close to nicking a win after Aung Thu’s 73rd-minute strike but Thiha Zaw Hein’s red card made it difficult for them.

Hilal El-Helwe equalised for the host in injury-time but it was a good point for an increasingly improving Myanmar side.

Myanmar finished in fourth place with eight points and have also qualified for the third round of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Laos finished bottom of the table with only one point.

Elsewhere...

In Group A, Malaysia finished with a mere four points, just two ahead of Timor Leste and they will enter the play-offs for a chance to reach the third round of the Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Thailand flew the flag proud of Southeast Asia by cruising into the final World Cup qualifying round while they are in the Asian Cup proper.

The War Elephants finished top of the group with 14 points, while fellow Southeast Asian nation Vietnam had to settle for third with seven points. The latter will go into the Asian Cup third qualifying round.