Nov 4, 2011
Posted by jay sayakou at 3:10 AM
The Philippine Azkals under-23 team yesterday was on the cusp of duplicating the achievement of their senior counterparts last year, but a costly mistake by their team captain frustrated their attempt.
Despite leading 1-0 in the first half via a Manny Ott strike, the younger Azkals succumbed to a hot offensive game by reigning silver medalist Vietnam, 1-3, to open its campaign in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
Ott opened the scoring in the 39th minute with a strike off a pass from Joshua Beloya. However, captain Matthew James Hartmann committed an error with a header on the Philippines' on goal. This sparked the Vietnamese hot offensive streak, keeping possession 71 percent of the game with ten shots at goal, according to the Manila Bulletin.
Vietnam's Le Huang Then scored the go-ahead goal off a save from goalkeeper Roland Muller of his first shot. Nguyen Van Quyet scored again in the 92nd minute to stamp Vietnam's win.
The game could have been a blowout for Vietnam if not for Muller, who, according to ABS-CBN News, saved a number of Vietnam's attempts to score a goal.
"Many of our players had suffered from jet lag and I think that was evident in the way they played but we have a total of four games so we would like to take it day by day. We will get this game behind us,” Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss said on the Philippine Olympic Committee Online.
In December 2010, the Azkals blasted Vietnam, 2-0, in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Football Federation Suzuki Cup, which sparked the renewal of Philippine football.
Myanmar (Burma) defeated Laos, 3-2, in yesterday's other match. The SEA Games will formally open on November 11.