In their final fixture of the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup, Bienvenido Marañon and the rest of the Philippine Azkals ended their campaign on a high note against Myanmar with a narrow 3-2 victory, Saturday evening, at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore.
The 35-year-old Marañon led the charge with a first-half hat-trick scored at the 16th, 19th, and 45th minutes to set the tone for the Filipinos.
He capitalized on Myanmar’s failure to clear their lines for his first goal; converted Iain Ramsay’s cross for the second; and headed the ball home just before the break to seal his achievement.
The United City star is the first Filipino player to score three goals in a single game in the Suzuki Cup group stages. Retired striker Ian Araneta did so against Timor Leste, but in the qualifying tourney of the 2010 edition.
“The beginning was hard. Every time you come in as a new player, everything is very hard,” said the former Cadiz player.
“But now I find myself very good, in the training, I find everything very good also and it shows in the game. Today I showed what I can give to them.”
Come the second half, substitute midfielder Htet Phyoe Wai was able to score past Azkals goalie Kevin Hansen to provide Myanmar hope at the 74th minute of the contest. The 21-year-old winger then scored again at the 86th minute to set up a tense finale for the Philippines.
Ultimately, though, the Philippines held on to the narrow win. It ends its Group A stint in third place this year with six points at the back of two wins and two losses.
The Filipinos scored a total of 12 goals during the past four matches. This makes it the highest-scoring campaign in the country’s history for this competition.
On the other hand, Myanmar ends its run with 3 points at the back of a solitary win.
Philippines XI: Hansen (GK), Nyholm, Ingreso, Ramsay, Marañon, Sato, Baas, Kekkonen, Gallantes, Reichelt ©.
Myanmar XI: Myo Min Latt (GK), David Htan, Win Moe Kyaw, Hlaing Bo Bo, Lwin Moe Aung, Than Paing, Mg Mg Lwin ©, Hein Phyo Win, Suan Lam Nang, Aung Naing Win, Hein Htet Aung.