The Philippine Men’s National Football Team’s start to the 2018 Bangabandhu Cup could not have gone better.
The Filipinos enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Laos to kickstart their campaign in the best possible way.
Kaya FC-Iloilo’s Jovin Bedic, Ateneo de Manila University’s Jarvey Gayoso, and skipper Misagh Bahadoran supplied the goals on Wednesday night at the Sylhet District Stadium in Sylhet, Bangladesh.
The result also grants the team a ticket to the semi-finals.
With the Philippines ranked 114 in the world, the onus was on the Azkals to show their class against the Laotians, who are rated 179th in the world. It came as no surprise that the Filipinos were the first to draw first blood in the contest.
After routine stops from veteran stopper Louie Casas allowed the Philippines to survive Laos’ attacks unscathed, Bedic was fouled in the Laotians’ box, and he stepped up for the Azkals and calmly converted it at the 44th minute.
The Ilonggo forward then went close to doubling the Azkals lead, but his attempt narrowly missed the target. Already with a one-goal advantage at the break, more was to come for the Filipinos.
Eight minutes after the restart, Gayoso doubled the Azkals’ lead and provided breathing space between them and the Laotians. The Blue Eagle headed in a cross from the left flank to open his account for the competition.
The Azkals still had one more goal in them to kill off any last bit of Laos resistance. The referee pointed to the spot again, this time for handball, and it was Bahadoran’s turn to take the spot-kick. The Filipino-Iranian forward then provided a three-goal cushion for the Philippines.
Laos pulled one back thanks to the contest’s third penalty in the 88th minute. Phithack Kongmathilath Shot past Casas, but the game was already over by then. The Azkals prevailed 3-1 over Laos to seal a place in the next round.
The Philippines hopes to seal first place in Group B against tournament hosts Bangladesh on October 5, 8:30 PM (Philippine time) at the Sylhet District Stadium.
Philippines XI: Casas (GK), Aguinaldo, Clarino, Marasigan, Minegishi, Alquiros, Arboleda, Angeles Marwin, Bedic, Gayoso, Bahadoran (C).