Azkals beat Mongolia in AFC

THE Philippines got its first win in the final stage of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qualifiers after a 1-0 win over host Mongolia on June 10 at the MFF Football Center in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.Gerrit Holtmann had an impressive debut for the Azkals as he scored the match-clinching goal just in the nick of time.Holtmann struck a left footer just outside the box and past Mongolia’s defense and its goalkeeper Munkh Erdene Enkhtaivan in the third minute of stoppage time.The Philippines had a perfect equalizer with a penalty kick in the 76th minute. Veteran Patrick Reichelt took the shot but was deflected by Enkhtaivan.This was the 27-year-old Holtmann’s first cap for the Philippines. He’s currently playing in the Bundesliga, Germany’s first division pro league, for VfL Bochum. He’s already logged five goals for his club, which currently ranked 13 in the Bundesliga.The Philippines got its fourth point in Group B after a draw with Yemen last Wednesday. As of press time, the Philippines held the top spot of Group B, while Palestine and Yemen were still set to play.The Philippines takes on Palestine on June 14.The top team of each of the six groups along with the five best runners-up advance to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in China. The 11 teams will join hosts China, Japan, Syria, Qatar, South Korea, Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Oman, Vietnam and Lebanon.