The Philippine Under-23 Men’s National Team relinquished two crucial points in its 2023 AFF U-23 Championship opener by conceding a late goal, resulting in a 2-2 draw against Laos on Thursday night at the Rayong Provincial Stadium in Thailand.
Coach Christopher Pedimonte’s team held a precarious lead going into stoppage time.
The Azkals appeared poised to secure the victory with goals from Far Eastern University-Diliman standout Selwyn Mamon and attacking midfielder Dennis Chung in the 23rd and 90th minutes, respectively, despite Jaime Rosquillo’s red card in the 77th minute.
However, Laos managed to score right at the last moment due to Souphan Khambai One’s strike in the 90+3rd minute.
“The way we started, it wasn’t that good,” said captain Yrick Gallantes. “I think we pushed on… we got the first goal, which was good. (For the) second goal, it’s difficult when we get fouls, especially against a good Laos team… They scored from that free kick.”
“We fought hard through halftime and then obviously the assist from me to Chung, who came in and scored. Unfortunately, the last-minute goal they scored, which was very unfortunate for us.”
Laos captain Khamsa Phimmasone scored his side’s first equalizer in the 39th minute between Manon and Chung’s goals.
As a result, the outcome meant that the Azkals and the Laotians share a point each in Group C. Both squads will face defending champions Vietnam next at the same venue.
Laos is scheduled to face Vietnam this Sunday at 5:00 PM Manila time, while the Filipinos will go up against Vietnam this Tuesday at 9:00 PM.
Philippines XI: Mangaoang (GK), Lucero, Ag. Pena, Mamon, Gallantes ©, Rosquillo, Al. Pena, Merino, Setters, Nunez, Absalon.
Laos XI: Lokphathip (GK), Phimmasone ©, Vannalath, Sisouphan, Xaypanya, Khounthomphone, Khambai One, Lueanthala, Thongkhamsavath, Vannachone, Xayyalath.