Job well done for U-22 Azkals hero Dennis Chung in SEA Games debut

Santino Honasan on Nov 26, 2019 02:50 PM
Job well done for U-22 Azkals hero Chung in SEAG debut
"Honestly, I didn't imagine that I would score the tying goal, but I'm so happy." - Dennis Chung (Photo: Arvin Lim)

Down 0-1 with the match nearing injury time, things were looking pretty bleak for the Philippine Under-22 Men's Football National Team in their 2019 Southeast Asian Games opener against Cambodia, Monday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila. 

Finishing had been a problem for the Pinoy side all match long, and a superb finish from Cambodia's Keo Sokpheng in the first half had the home team staring at a one-goal hole. 

Hoping for a last-minute surge of energy, U-22 Azkals head coach Goran Milojevic fielded in 18-year old Dennis Chung to replace starter Dylan De Bruycker. 

The late adjustment would end up paying dividends for Milojevic and the Philippines, as Chung would play the role of unlikely hero. 

Following a broken play heading into the third minute of regulation, skipper Stephan Schrock charged into the box and crossed the ball to Yrick Gallantes. 

Gallantes' catch would end up in range, and Chung pounced on the opportunity, firing a shot off from just inside the box. Chung's attempt went far left, away from Cambodian keeper Keo Soksela's reach and right into the back of the net. 

It would be the first - and only opportunity - that the U-22 Azkals would convert on, but it was also the only one that they needed to avoid taking an L on the opening day of the SEA Games. 

It also sent the Pinoy crowd at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium into a frenzy. 

It was quite the moment for Chung, who says he was so laser-focused on his National Team debut that he couldn't hear anything once he was on the pitch. 

"Actually, I didn't hear anything, I was so focused on the game. It's my debut, that's why," Chung said after the match. "Honestly, I didn't imagine that I would score the tying goal, but I'm so happy." 

According to Schrock, his instructions to the kid were pretty simple. 

"Funny, I told him, once he got on, I said 'Hey, whenever you have it, you have the chance at the 6-yard  box, turn and shoot!' because I had the feeling that the Cambodians had not much left in their legs in the last minutes, and he's a really quick and agile player, so I'm very happy for him, very proud for him." 

Even more simple, according to Chung himself, were the instructions given to him by the coaching staff before he entered the match. 

"They just said go in and do what you want to do." 

Chung did just that, and ended up saving the match for his team and his country. For Coach Goran, it was a job well done. 

"To be honest, all my players is, for me, able to score a goal. We substituted him to go inside and to score a goal. He's done his job, it's great," said Milojevic. He scored the goal. Nice."

Chung was born in Germany to a Filipino mother whose roots can be traced back to Camiguin, and a Chinese father. He plays for Hertha 03 Berlin-Zehlendorf e.V. in NOFV-Oberliga Nord in Germany. 

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