The Philippine Azkals U23 dominated Timor Leste via a 4-0 emphatic win to open their 31st Southeast Asian Games campaign on a strong note in Vietnam Friday.
The Philippine football team made sure to dictate the tempo of the match as Christian Rontini found the back of the net at the 11th minute.
Team captain Stephan Schrock’s free kick found Rontini, who scored through a header, in front of the goal for a 1-0 early lead.
Dennis Chung stretched the Philippine advantage to 2-nil after a Dennis Chung goal at the 56th minute.
Once again, Schrock provided the pass to the running Chung, who was able to avoid Timor Leste’s goalie.
Almost 20 minutes later, it was Jovin Bedic’s turn to tally a goal for the Azkals to make up for his sorry miss in the 58th minute when he narrowly missed the goal.
At the 81st minute, Oskari Kekkonen put the nail on the coffin of their opponent with a goal off a back assist from Oliver Bias.
The Philippine team is eyeing to advance to the semifinals despite being drawn into Group A where the defending champion Vietnam is also placed.
They will also face in the group stage the runners up Indonesia and Myanmar.
In a report of the Philippine Football Federation, head coach Norman Fegidero hopes that they can reach their objective of qualifying to the semifinals for the first time since 1991.
“We’ll take it one game at a time, but our objective is to be in the semi-finals of the SEA Games,” said Fegidero. “I’m very happy to have all the players in the team and having Schrocky on board will help the team reach our objective.”
The Azkals U23 will next face the host country on May 8, Sunday.