The Philippine football delegation at the 2017 South East Asian Games in Malaysia had a dream start as the Philippine Men’s Under-22 and Women’s National Teams won their respective first games to commence their campaigns for regional glory.
Cubon, Belgira score as Men’s U-22 blank Cambodia for first win
At long last, the Philippines is back to winning ways in the SEA Games Men’s Football competition!
The Philippines failed to win a single game in the 2015 SEA Games held in Singapore but that is irrelevant now as the current batch prevailed 2-0 vs the much-favored Cambodia at the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium in Selayang.
It was a difficult first half for the Filipinos as the Cambodians bossed possession throughout the opening 45 minutes. Cambodian goalie Um Serei Rath was a virtual spectator as his opponents struggled to create anything that could harm him.
Unsurprisingly Cambodia produced the best chance of the period. Some neat passing play allowed Brak Thiva to elude the Philippine defense and he should have broken the deadlock if not for a great save by Filipino goalkeeper Rey Joyel.
The game reached a goalless impasse at the break, which proved to be what the Philippines needed for a better showing upon the restart. Pressing, offensive plays, passing were much improved and the Filipinos reaped the rewards immediately.
Kou Ichi Belgira wasted a big chance after just two minutes in the second half when he skied the ball with the goal at his mercy, yet the Filipinos pushed themselves further. A much-needed goal for the Filipinos arrived at the 51st minute when defender Reymart Cubon headed in Jarvey Gayoso’s.
Goals change games. Suddenly the Philippines was on the front foot. Gayoso embodied the team’s improved game as he single-handedly proved too be a nuisance towards the Cambodian defense. Rath was forced to make a routine stop against Gayoso to keep the scores as it was.
Cambodia was rattled. Any composure they had in the first half was gone. Come the 82nd minute, the Philippines put the nail on Cambodia’s coffin as Belgira made up for his earlier miss with a stunning free kick that doubled the Filipinos’ lead.
Things got better for the Filipinos as Cambodian substitute Choum Pisa was ejected for a forearm hit on Meralco midfielder Daniel Gadia late in the game. Cambodia tried to pull one back, but Joyel produced save after save to keep the clean sheet.
Ultimately, the Philippines upset the much-favored Cambodia 2-0 to start its campaign on a high note!
Impelido, Rodriguez strike as PWFT stuns hosts Malaysia
While the Men’s U-22 game was being played, their counterparts from the PWNT were up against host country Malaysia. It was the first time the PWNT competed in the SEA Games since 2005 edition held at the Pannad Stadium in Bacolod.
The Filipinas were eager to continue their good from coming from the 2018 AFC Women’s Asia Cup qualifiers and looked to set the tone early in the game. Patrice Impelido scored a header to give the Let Dimzon-coached squad a dream start at the 45+1 minute.
Unfortunately, the PWNT conceded a leveler to Malaysia just nine minutes after the restart. Dadree Rofinus pulled one back for the hosts which shifted the momentum to their side.
Come the 74th minute, though, the PWNT regained the lead thanks to Ateneo Lady Eagle Cam Rodriguez’s strike. The PWNT then held on for the 2-1 upset against Malaysia at the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam.
It was the Philippines’ first win since 2005, Back then it as a 2-0 home win against Indonesia where Impelido’s sister, Angeline was one of the goalscorers. The other goalscorer back then was Miko Alley.
Up next for the Men’s U-22 squad will be a clash against Indonesia on August 17, 8:45 PM. Likewise the PWNT shall also against Vietnam on August 17, 4:00 PM.