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Match report - Philippines 2 Laos 2

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VIENTIANE: James Younghusband scored deep into stoppage time as Philippines battled back from a two-goal deficit to hold Laos to a 2-2 draw in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 qualifying competition on Sunday.

First-half goals by Soukhaphone Vongchiengkham and Kanlaya Sysomvang had put the home side in control at the National Sports Complex in Vientiane.

But Philip Younghusband pulled a goal back from the penalty spot before his elder brother James got his head to a hopeful long free-kick in the fourth minute of added time to rescue an unlikely draw for the Pinoys.

The result sent Philippines back to the top of the qualifying group with four points, ahead of Cambodia on goal difference. Laos have two points after drawing their first two games and must beat Timor Leste by at least three goals on Tuesday to be certain of qualifying for the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The match was a robust affair with niggy tackles and petulant challenges the order of the day although Thai referee Mongkolchai Pechsri allowed much of it go early in the game.

The home side took the lead in somewhat fortuitous fashion in the 28th minute. A cross from the left by Kanlaya was chested down by Konekham Inthammavong into the path of Soukhaphone, whose first-time effort nicked off a Philippines defender and wrong-footed goalkeeper Neil Etheridge. Robet Gier attempted to clear the ball off the line but the referee ruled it a goal.

Kanlaya went close to extending Laos' lead three minutes late when his low shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

But the 20-year-old made no mistake in the 40th minute with a stunning shot from 20 metres that flew past Etheridge into the top left corner of the Philippines net.

Laos tried to protect their lead after the break but they were almost caught out in the 57th minute when their defence twice had to scramble the ball off the line following a Filipino corner.

Laos goalkeeper Sengphachan Bounthisanh then made a fine save to deny Ali Borromeo midway through the half after the Philippines skipper directed a header on goal.

But the Laos goalkeeper was finally beaten in the 76th minute by a penalty taken by Philip Younghusband after his brother had been fouled in the box.

Philippines turned up the heat and Younghusband nearly got a second goal two minutes after his first when his shot from 25 metres rocked the crossbar.

Sengphachan then did magnificently to tip over an Ian Araneta effort in the 86th minute.

But with the match deep into stoppage time, Etheridge's free-kick from just inside the Laos half found James Younghusband, who outleapt the Laotian defence to net the equaliser.