W D L P
East Timor 2 - - 6
Vietnam 1 1 - 4
Myanmar 1 1 - 4
Laos - - 1 0
Brunei - - 1 0
Philippines - - 2 0
THE Junior Azkals stint in the Group of Hope in the Southeast Asian Games is quickly turning into a disastrous outing.
The Philippines played excellent football in the final 20 minutes, but that wasn’t enough to undo its atrocious showing in the first 70 minutes for its second straight loss, 2-1, in Group B of the biennial meet yesterday.
East Timor, the former minnows in Southeast Asian football, now leads Group B with six points on two wins, while the Philippines is in a situation that is all too familiar, last with no wins in two games.
Vietnam and Myanmar trail the surprise leaders with four points, while the Philippines will have to win its last three matches and hope the top three teams drop one in the rest of the elimination round.
The Philippines, playing in what is hyped as the group of hope because of what was then perceived as an easier draw, seemed lost in the first half and spent most of the opening 45 minutes chasing the Timorese strikers, who had the first real chance at goal with a 13th minute strike from 25 yards.
Roland Muller was up to the task and easily collected the ball in that strike but four minutes later, he didn’t have a prayer in stopping an open shot at goal as East Timor, which beat Brunei, 2-1, in opening day, took the lead.
Making matters worse, Carlos de Murga earned a yellow card—his second of the tournament—and will miss the next game against Laos on Friday, where a loss means outright elimination for the Philippines.
In the 37th, OJ Portierra equalized with a point-blank strike but just three minutes into the second half, East Timor took advantage of the Philippines weak defense for the go-ahead goal.
It could have been 3-1 in the 55th but Portierra managed to clear the ball from the goal-line with Muller defeated, while de Jong tried his chance in the 72nd for the equalizer but fialed.
The Philippines kept pressing for the equalizer and controlled the possession in the final 20 minutes but they could not beat the keeper, while the players of the former Portuguese colony channeled their inner Cristiano Ronaldo and seemed to fall at the slightest touch, wasting a few minutes off the clock.
Gerardo Valmayor tried a long range effort in the 86th but his shot was saved and the Philippines dropped its second straight loss.