Younghusband rescues Azkals as India, Vietnam win in Asian Cup qualifying
The Younghusband brothers rescued a point as Philippines had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Yemen in a key Asian Cup 2019 qualifier.
The result keeps the Philippines top of Group F, two points ahead of Yemen, and looking good for a place in the United Arab Emirates in 2019. However, Thomas Dooley's side will still be disappointed not to have beaten the country 19 places below them in the latest FIFA rankings.
The Central Asian side took the lead through Mudir Al-Radaei in the 27th minute before Phil Younghusband netted the equaliser from a free kick just three minutes later. The visitors went ahead again when Abdulwasea Al-Matari finished off a fine counter-attack 10 minutes into the second half.
The elder of the Younghusbands, James, then earned a point for the Philippines with a 71st-minute header to keep the Azkals top of the group.
Tajikistan proved too good for Nepal in Group F's other game, winning 2-1 in Kathmandu to move to within two points of Yemen.
In a battle of Southeast Asia, a late winner from Quang Hai gave Vietnam a hard-fought three points in Cambodia. The visitors had taken the lead through Van Queyet after just three minutes, but Cambodia's star man Chan Vathanaka levelled seven minutes later.
However, Quang Hai's fine header broke the stalemate with 10 minutes remaining, edging the Vietnamese into top spot in Group C ahead of Jordan's game with Afghanistan.
In Group B, Malaysia endured a frustrating 90 minutes as they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Hong Kong.
Brazilian-born Sandro opened the scoring for the visitors at the beginning of the second half before Syazwan Zainon swiftly equalised. But neither side could find the winner despite chances at both ends, with the hosts ending the game on nine men after two red cards in added time and Hong Kong missing a 93rd-minute penalty.
While Malaysia were disappointed, they received a boost as Group B leaders Lebanon held North Korea to a 2-2 draw in Pyongyang. The Koreans went ahead through Kim Yu Song in the 23rd minute before the visitors equalised with a goal from Nour Mansour just after the break.
The hosts thought they had won the game when Ri Yong-Jik put them ahead in the 86th minute. But Hassan Matouk levelled the score in the third minute of added time to keep the Lebanese five points clear of The Koreans and Hong Kong, with Malaysia one point further back.
Group A's match between Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan was postponed due to security concerns, and in the group's other game, Stephen Constantine's India won 2-0 in Macau. Balwant Singh's brace helped them to maintain their 100 per cent record and move six points clear at the top.
A late goal by Turkmenistan earned a point in Singapore leaving the Lions in bottom spot in Group E, and with a mountain to climb to get back into the frame for qualification. Shakir Hamzah's goal on the hour mark looked like giving Singapore their first win of the campaign before Altymyrat Annadurdyyew's 82nd-minute strike gave the visitors a point.
And in Group D, Bhutan ran leaders Palestine close for much of the game before the visitors took the three points with a 2-0 victory, the second goal coming in the fifth minute of added time.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK