Azkals win!!!

BACOLOD City -- At last, a win.

Backed by a raucous and jampacked crowd at the Panaad Park and Stadium, the Philippines survived a gritty Cambodia, 4-2, for its first win in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games (Seag).

"It's a great feeling, I'm still out of words, I want to congratulate all my teammates," said the 6 foot 1 captain, Ali Borromeo, who scored one of the goals.

The win puts them at third place with three points, while Malaysia leads on goal difference, having defeated Cambodia, 5-0. Malaysia will face Thailand tomorrow and the Philippines on Nov. 29.

"If we want to win the first medal in football in the Seag, we will have to win the game against Malaysia ," coach Aries Caslib said.

The Philippines, who had three scoring chances denied by the Thai keeper in its opening 0-1 loss to the defending champion, started well – with their passes and ball control improved.

James Younghusband brought the house down after receiving a nifty pass from Arnie Pasenabo and scoring from 30 yards out for a 1-0 lead. The celebration was short however, as five minutes later, Cambodia equalize off a corner.

"We really have to address our problems in our defense, we have a problem with those goals (opposite defense)" Caslib said.

Borromeo got a chance to put RP ahead in the 36th with a shot off a free kick, but referee Maniam Ganesan called him offside.

The 22-year-old team captain finally scored in the second half, after heading in Emilio Caligdong's corner for a 2-1 lead.

However, Pok Chan Than cut short the celebration with a strike from outside the box to level the match again.

With the crowd egging them on, the Azkals refused to quit, and Borromeo connected with Philip Greatwitch in the 40th to the delight of the Fil-Brit's mom, Carla, who run up and down the stairs shouting "That's my son! That's my son!"

"The players wanted to win badly so, we adjusted in the second half," Caslib said.

Caligdong, who scored the two goals in RP's first win against East Timor in the Tiger Cup last year, made sure Cambodia couldn't catch up with a lovely chip in the 43rd minute for the 4-2 score – before running at the tracks to start off the rabid celebration.

After the final whistle, Caligdong and the rest of the team returned and grabbed a Philippine flag from the crowd.

"It's unbelievable out there, the crowd is very supportive, you get goose bumps every time you touch the ball," Borromeo said.


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