After trailing in the first half, the Philippine U22 Team dug deep late in the game to level the score at 1-1 to walk away with a point in last night’s first football match in Group A of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Dennis Chung delivered the equalizer.
A day after the confusion and some embarrassment on the part of host Philippines, the U22 PH Team reinforced by Azkals captain Stephan Schrock and experienced defender Amani Aguinaldo, gave the country something to cheer about.
The comeback rally staged by the U22 team was witnessed by Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta who bought his own ticket for the match.
Araneta, earlier expressed optimism over the national football teams’ campaigns in the Games.
He said both the Young Azkals and the Malditas are armed with enough preparation to deliver a strong showing at home.
The first and only medal so far, in the sport came 34 years ago in Thailand when the women’s team nailed a bronze as the field only had three teams.
“We expect some hidden gems to be unveiled. I am confident that our players will be able to seize their chance and show that there is continuous improvement in Philippine football,” Araneta said.
The Malditas, who trained in Japan for a couple of weeks last month, open their campaign against Myanmar at 8 p.m. today at Biñan Football Stadium.
Six players in the 20-man roster of the Young Azkals are part of the senior team, which Araneta said augurs well for the team’s campaign. Ateneo star Jarvey Gayoso is also part of the squad together with San Beda standouts Mar Diano, Michael Asong and Jerome Marzan.
Marco Casambre, Pocholo Bugas, Troy Limbo and Mariano Suba are also among the homegrown stars of the team.*
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