Philippine football squads sustain first SEA Games setbacks after dream start

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 18, 2017 05:06 PM
Philippine football squads sustain first SEA Games setbacks
(Photo courtesy of the official 2017 SEA Games Twitter account: @KL2017)

KUALA LUMPUR – Falling prey to defensive lapses and relentless pace, both Philippine squads suffered lopsided setbacks to separate rivals in the 29th Southeast Asian Games football tournament here Thursday night.

The national men's U22 booters were unable to recover from two crucial errors in the first half to absorb a 0-3 beating from a frisky Indonesian side that was supported by close to 5,000 roaring fans at the sprawling Shah Ahlam Stadium.

It was their first loss in Group B of the men’s competition.

The Malditas, on the other hand, couldn’t contain powerhouse Vietnam after a scoreless standoff as fatigue set in and took a 0-3 defeat at the UM Arena in Petaling Jaya for their first setback in the women’s tourney.

“I cannot accept those first two goals by Indonesia because we lost our focus and concentration on defense,” lamented men’s coach Marlon Maro. “Those goals were not supposed to happen.”

He was referring to the sixth-minute goal of midfielder Septian David Mulana, who struck from pointblank range from a right cross and the other in the 37th from skipper Pranata Hansamu Yama. The Filipino back row was caught napping in both instances.

But Maro conceded the Indonesians’ third goal: a swirling 30-yard volley from midfielder Ramdani Saddil that sailed over two defenders to the top right of the net in the 58th, well beyond the reach of Filipino goalie Joyel Ray Joseph.

The veteran mentor rued the potential first goal of his charges in the 56th minute that was ruled offside by the linesman, which he said could have changed the complexion of the game.

Inside a crowded goal area, Javier Augustine Gayoso struck a free kick that bounced off Indonesia's defensive wall, with team captain Julian Clarino booting it in clearly, raising the Filipino camp’s hopes.

But it was deflated just as quickly dashed when the right linesman raised his flag, nullifying the goal.

“Alam ko po di ako offside. I moved only after the ball hit one of the Indonesian defenders,” said the crestfallen Clarino of the missed opportunity.

“Our hope in reaching the semis is not yet over,” stressed Maro, whose charges have a two-day break before facing Vietnam on Sunday. “With the two-day rest I hope I will have my first eleven fresh for the game.”

Following their 4-1 rout of the Cambodians last Thursday, the unbeaten Vietnamese pace the group with three wins, good for nine points, while the Indonesians were second with four points with a win and a draw. The Filipinos had three points to stay in third place.

The top two teams after the single-round elimination series will advance to the crossover semifinals.

Women’s team head coach Letlet Dimzon, for her part, admitted that “Vietnam is superior in technical and tactical ability, and they showed it in the game.  We were aiming to draw this game. But due to fatigue the players started to slow down and lose concentration.”

The Malditas will have a four-day layoff before returning to the pitch against Myanmar on Aug. 22.

With their 2-1 win over Malaysia, the Filipinas lie in fourth place in the five-nation, single round tourney with three points.

Myanmar is on top with four points on a win and a draw while Vietnam and defending champion Thailand are in second spot with a win each.  

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