Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong put the Philippines back on course for a semifinals stint in the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup last night, scoring a well- executed goal in the 85th minute as the Azkals stunned title favorite Vietnam at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok Thailand.
Caligdong converted on a well- placed cross from Angel Guirado as the Azkals repeated their 2010 win over the former defending champions.
Both Caligdong and Guirado were fielded in the second half with the latter coming in for Paul Mulders while Caligdong replaced James Younghusband with 20 minutes left in the match.
The duo’s presence provided a refreshing change for the Philippines who have been absorbing one attack after another from a fiesty Vietnam squad who is also hungry for a win after drawing against Myanmar in its first outing.
Azkals head coach Hans Michael Weiss was forced to coach from the stands after he was suspended fro unsportsmanlike conduct in their match against Thailand last Saturday.
The win put the Philippines at second place with three points pending the outcome of the match between Thailand and Myanmar which was ongoing as of presstime.
The Philippines was in a must- win situation after bowing down to Thailand, 2- 0 last Saturday.
Should group leader Thailand win, a draw for the Philippines against Myanmar this Friday would allow it to advance to the semifinals outright. But should Myanmar win, the Philippines needs to beat the former to grab a semis ticket.
Thailand currently leads the bracket with three points while Vietnam and Myanmar each has a point after their 1all draw.
The Azkals started the match with good ball possession and ball control creating several offensive attempts including those from Phil and James Younghusband and Paul Mulders.
The country’s back line of Ray Anthony Pepito Jonsson, Juani Guirado, Dennis Cagara and Rob Gier also erected a solid wall in the first half.
Ed Sacapaño who conceded two goals against Thailand dished out another brilliant performance including foiling the attempt of Le Tan Tai by the tips of his fingers a minute af ter Caligdong scored his goal.
The Azkals also picked up four yellow cards— one each for Phil Younghusband, Robert Gier, Jerry Lucena and Ed Sacapaño.