Hosts Philippines gave Cambodia a major scare, but bowed out of men’s football in SEA Games 2019 despite a 6-1 thrashing of Timor-Leste in their final Group A game at the Binan Football Stadium on Wednesday.
The Azkals knew that they had to defeat Timor-Leste and hope the game between Cambodia and Malaysia ended in a draw for them to reach the knockout stages. And the Filipinos set out to do their part impressively in Binan.
Philippines launched into the lead as early as the fourth minute as Yrick Gallantes sent Stephan Schrock through on goal and the veteran Ceres-Negros FC star finished past Timorese custodian Aderito Fernandes without doubt.
— The Philippine Azkals (@TheAzkalsPH) December 4, 2019
The home side survived a scare in the 20th minute when Edit Savio had the ball in the net for Timor-Leste as Anthony Pinthus fumbled the ball inside the box, but the referee pulled back the play for what looked like a foul on the Azkals goalkeeper by Ximense Mesquita.
For a moment, it looked like the group’s whipping boys could steal something out of their tie against the Philippines, but Amani Aguinaldo doubled his side’s advantage heading a corner from Schrock just before the half-time break.
With Malaysia and Cambodia still goalless, Azkals had an eye on the semifinal spot.
Philippines increased their lead after the restart through Mar Diano who headed in a Schrock free kick in the 54th minute, but the celebrations of the Azkals supporters at the Binan Football Stadium were subdued as news filtered in that Cambodia had taken a 3-0 lead against Malaysia in Manila.
However, when one window closed, the Azkals decided to knock on another as they tried to pip Cambodia to the second place on goal difference as Aguinaldo completed his hattrick while Dylan de Bruycker added another to make it 6-0 to Azkals.
Cambodia and Philippines had began the day with a goal difference of +4 and 0 respectively, but with the Azkals shipping in half a dozen goals past Timor-Leste and Felix Dalmas’ side conceding a late goal to Malaysia, the goal difference stood tied with the hosts needing one more strike to progress by scoring more goals in the group stages than Cambodia.
However, Timor-Leste captain Nataniel Ries brought an end to those faint hopes as his free kick slipped through the hands of Pinthus in the second-half injury time and eliminate the impressive Azkals.
Myanmar and Cambodia progress to the last four from Group A and will be joined by Vietnam and one among Indonesia and Thailand from Group B.
(Photo credit: Tiebreaker Times)