What looked to be a massive upset turned out to be a tragedy.
The Philippine Under-19 Men’s National Football Team tasted a bitter 1-4 loss against the host country, Indonesia, in the 2018 AFF Under-19 Championship at the Gelora Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo.
Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraw and UAAP Season 80 Most Valuable Player Gio Pabualan granted the Filipinos a dream start when he converted a free kick at the 33rd minute to stun the home crowd of 16,000 fans.
Reiji Hirata’s boys had their backs against the wall throughout the game and they had goalkeeper Jessie Semblante to thank as it was his stops which kept the scoreline as is.
Unfortunately, there was a cruel sting in the tale for the Filipinos. With only eight minutes left in the ballgame, Indonesian forward Saddil Ramdani cut into the Philippine box and leveled the scores for the hosts.
The Philippines went downhill after Ramdani’s leveler and surrendered the lead at the 83rd minute thanks to Indonesian defender Firza Andika’s strike. There was no turning back for the Filipinos after the Indonesians’ second goal and the latter wrapped up all three points soon after thanks to another Ramdani goal and Todd Ferre’s late marker.
The result left the Philippines at 3rd place in Group A with three points after three games played. Only the top two nations qualify for the semi-finals. As it stands, Indonesia (9 points), Thailand (7 points) and Vietnam (7 points) lead the pack in the said group.
There is still hope for the Philippines to enter the semi-finals for the first time in its history but it has to prevail against another tough team, Thailand, on July 7, 3:30 PM at the Gelora Delta Stadium.