By Celest R.

MANILA, Philippines—Philippines [...]

Suzuki Cup semis: Philippines, Singapore settle for scoreless draw in 1st leg

By Celest R. Flores

MANILA, Philippines—Philippines came alive in the second half but settled for a 0-0 draw against visiting Singapore Saturday night in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

After playing it cautious in the first half, the Azkals managed to put more pressure on the Lions but just could not find the finish they were looking for.

Playing infront of a packed crowd, the Azkals constantly attacked the left flank with Patrick Reichelt making chances happen.

Chieffy Caligdong, who checked in for Reichelt in the 77th minute, also had a good chance in that area but just didn’t convert.

Paul Mulders also had a great strike over the Lions’ wall of defenders in the 72nd minute, but was just a bit wide to the left.

“We were a bit too cautious (in the first half), but I like how we played in the second half, ” said head coach Hans Michael Weiss in an interview.

The Philippines, though, are still in a prime position after keeping a clean sheet at home—since away goals in a home-and-away format—holds more weight.

And the bulk of the credit goes to goalkeeper Ed Sacapaño, who kept the Azkals in the game—especially in the first half when Singapore was more threatening.

“Masaya narin dahil nakuha namin yung tabla. Lamang kami kasi nakuha namin style ng play nila, so makaka-adjust kami,” said Sacapaño.

The series shifts to Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, with a hostile home crowd expected, on Wednesday for the second leg of the semis.

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