One error is a team needs to open the floodgates. The Philippine Under-22 Men’s National Football Team learned that lesson the hard way.
The young Azkals’ hopes for a shot at the gold medal in the 2019 Merlion Cup were dashed by host nation Singapore with a 0-3 loss, Friday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The result relegates the Filipinos to the third-place battle against Indonesia, which lost 1-2 to Thailand in the day’s earlier fixture.
The Singaporeans started aggressively, and immediately put the visitors on the backfoot. Philippines goalie Michael Asong denied skipper Irfan Fandi’s header, only to concede soon afterward after a faulty backpass by one of his defenders set Amiruldin Asraf on his way to score the opener in the 26th minute.
Already down by a goal at the break, the Filipinos suffered further heartbreak come the second period. Irfan made up for his miss earlier in the fixture when he shot past Asong to double the Singaporeans’ lead in the 61st minute and virtually seal the win.
The home side had one more goal in them, though, and it arrived five minutes after Irfan’s strike. It was then Ikhsan Fandi’s turn to join the party as the substitute converted from close range, thanks to a Zikos Chua assist, to put the icing on Singapore’s cake.
With the result, the Filipinos shall face the Indonesians in the bronze medal game on June 9, 2019, at the same venue. Meanwhile, Singapore shall face Thailand for all the marbles on the same day.
Singapore XI: Rohaizad, Sazali, Fandi ©, Tan, Goh, Stewart, Syahin, Mahler, Rezky, Asraf, Pashia.
Philippines XI: Asong (GK), Forrosuelo, Frigillano, Marzan, Gayoso, Clarino ©, Sanciangco, Saldivar, Vergara, Saavedra, Suba.