AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Reichelt winner helps Azkals down Singapore

Patrick Reichelt emerged as the hero for Philippines as they opened their AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 Group B campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Singapore on Tuesday.

In a keenly-contested encounter at the Panaad Stadium that produced few clear-cut chances, it was the hosts who still created the better of the opportunities.

They came excruciatingly close to breaking the deadlock four minutes after the hour mark; John-Patrick Strauss pouncing on a loose ball inside the box and looking to bend a shot into the top corner but Hassan Sunny produced a strong hand to push it wide.

As the game entered its closing stage, it looked increasingly like a draw was on the cards, which would not have been the worst result for either side.

But, with 12 minutes remaining, James Younghusband’s flick-on header was helped on by Phil Younghusband into the path of Reichelt, who benefitted from some slack defending – including a stumble by Irfan Fandi at the crucial moment – to stroke the winner past Hassan and get the Azkals up and running at the tournament.

PHILIPPINES: Neil Etheridge, Luke Woodland (Daisuke Sato 34’), Carli de Murga, Paul Mulders, Martin Steuble, Manny Ott, John-Patrick Strauss, Mike Ott (James Younghusband 46’), Stephan Schrock, Patrick Reichelt, Phil Younghusband (Curt Dizon 90+6’).

SINGAPORE: Hassan Sunny, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Irfan Fandi (Khairul Amri 85’), Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah, Hariss Harun, Izzdin Shafiq, Yasir Hanapi, Faris Ramli (Shahril Ishak 67’; Jacob Mahler 72’), Gabriel Quak, Ikhsan Fandi.