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Kathmandu: The Philippines were made to wait in their bid to secure a first-ever AFC Asian Cup appearance after Tuesday’s goalless draw with Nepal in Group F left Thomas Dooley's side just short of a 2019 qualification.

Nepal, meanwhile, were already out of contention but still picked up a second point of their campaign having lost 4-1 in the Philippines in March.

After a slow start, Nepal created the first real chance after 17 minutes as Sujal Shreshtha fired straight at Philippines goalkeeper Neil Etheridge following a strong solo run down the left from the midfielder.

That seemed to bring the Philippines to life, with the visitors knowing victory would secure qualification with a game to spare as first Carlos De Murga headed just over the crossbar from Iain Ramsay’s cross three minutes later before Simone Rota failed to convert a delivery from Phil Younghusband after 29 minutes.

And the visitors finished the second half strongly as Nepal defender Rohit Chand was on hand to block a Younghusband shot 13 minutes before half-time.

The best chance of the half arrived three minutes later as Mike Ott shot straight into the hands of the Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong with only the custodian to beat before Younghusband fired just wide before the break.

But despite that dominance, goalkeeper Etheridge nearly handed Nepal an opener 10 minutes into the second half but was eventually able to scramble the ball to safety after almost being disposed by Anjan Bista after needlessly trying to dribble past the midfielder.

And the same two players were involved again two minutes later as Etheridge had to be alert to stop Bista’s long range strike.

At the other end, Chemjong beat away Rota’s fierce 30-yard strike a minute after the hour mark, with Younghusband only able to turn the rebound wide off the post.

Ott was then denied with 20 minutes remaining as Ananta Tamang made a key block with only Chemjong to beat.

But despite their chances, the Philippines were almost stunned in the closing stages as Nawayug Shrestha's shot was blocked by Dennis Villanueva, with Bimal Magar unable to convert the rebound.

Photos: AFC