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Doha: Mike Ott struck an 89th minute equaliser as the unbeaten Philippines held on to top spot in Group F of the qualifiers for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after salvaging a 1-1 draw with Yemen on Tuesday.

Tawfik Ali’s close range finish just after the hour mark at Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Stadium looked to have earned also unbeaten Yemen a second win of the campaign which would have dislodged the Philippines at the top of the table.

But with Ott firing home from just outside the six yard area, the Philippines held onto first place - two points clear of both Tajikistan and Yemen.

After the sides shared an entertaining 2-2 draw in Bacolod last month, Yemen enjoyed the better start as Philippines goalkeeper Neil Etheridge had to be on his toes to keep out a free-kick from midfielder Mohammed Ba Rowis after 21 minutes.

And four minutes before half time, Yemen’s Ala Al Sasi hit the crossbar after capitalising on an error from Philippines defender Dennis Villanueva.

Yemen continued to enjoy the better of the chances in the final third in the second half as the Philippines were again saved by the woodwork as Ahmed Nabil’s shot from Abdulwasea Al Matari’s cross crashed back off the crossbar just before the hour mark.

But Yemen finally found the breakthrough with 27 minutes remaining as Ali was in the right place at the right time after a corner had caused chaos inside the Philippines’ penalty area.

The Philippines, though, preserved their unbeaten record as Ott received a pass from Paul Mulders inside the area following a patient build up before firing past Yemen goalkeeper Mohammed Ayyash with just over a minute remaining.

Photos: AFC

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