Philippines, Yemen secure maiden spots

HONG KONG – The Philippines will be one of three teams making their debut at the expanded Asian Cup in 2019 after sealing their spot with Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Tajikistan, and skipper Phil Younghusband hopes qualification will spark a new era of soccer growth in the country.

The victory, which came after the hosts scored twice in the last 16 minutes to overhaul Tajikistan, also ensured group rivals Yemen would qualify for Asia’s continental championship for the first time.

The pair join fellow new boys Kyrgyzstan in the draw on May 4 for next January’s tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

Younghusband, who scored a 90th minute penalty to give his side the win in Manila, said he hoped Philippine football was now on the rise.

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