Porteria leads Azkals to victory over Myanmar

By Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 06 2013 08:48 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2013 06:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine Azkals pulled off a 1-0 victory over an aggressive Myanmar squad in their FIFA International friendly in Yangon on Wednesday.

The Azkals, who looked rusty against their opponents, came off with the away win courtesy of OJ Porteria's long-range shot in the 78th minute.

Looking to avenge their 2-0 loss to the Filipinos in the recent Suzuki Cup, the Myanmarese pounded the Azkals' defense for most part of the game.

Myanmar nearly scored in the 13th and the 57th, but the Azkals kept a clean sheet thanks to Neil Etheridge's quick reflexes.

The Filipinos had scoring chances in the 33rd and the 60th, but the attempts made by Jeff Christiaens and Chieffy Caligdong were cleared by Myanmarese defense.

After several attempts, Porteria managed to break through Myanmar’s backline in the 78th and fired a long-range screamer to make it 1-0 for the Philippines.

Ian Araneta nearly made it 2-0 for the Azkals, but his goal in the 81st was disallowed for offside.

Myanmar tallied 14 attempts against the Azkals, with 9 of them on target.

On the other hand, the Filipino footballers had 8 attempts, with 4 of them on target.

The friendly is part of the Azkals' build up for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers that will take place in Manila next month.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami said the game showed the things that they need to improve on.

“I could see we still have a lot to work on and we're right on schedule in so far as preparations are concerned,” said Palami.

“This [game] is basically to test the waters, how are we after the long break, how are we after the Suzuki Cup.”

Palami said they are planning to set up two more friendlies for the Azkals before they plunge into the qualifiers.

The Azkals are clustered together with Turkmenistan, Cambodia and Brunei in Group E.