MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals clinched the Philippine Football Peace Cup after a convincing 3-1 victory over Chinese Taipei at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 30.
The Philippines topped the group with a full 9 points from 3 matches, followed by Chinese Taipei with 4 points, Guam with 3 and Macau with 1.
After last Thursday's 5-0 rout of Macau, the Azkals began assailing the Chinese Taipei defense from the start.
Their efforts were paid off when tournament top scorer Denis Wolf slotted in the opening goal in the 10th minute after a defensive mistake inside the penalty area.
Riding on that early goal, Wolf had several chances from Wolf to add a second to his name in the match before skipper Chieffy Caligdong made it 2-0 in the 34th thanks to another defensive blunder.
Ten minutes later OJ Porteria, making his first international start, added a third goal after intercepting a pass by the defense.
Chinese Taipei pulled one back in the 52nd minute, when Chang Han beat the offside trap for the easy consolation goal.
Controversy over penalty claim
The score was still 3-1 when Chinese Taipei were denied a penalty for a tackle inside the box in the 60th minute.
The controversial decision so enraged the visiting squad that Chinese Taipei Football Association Vice President Liu Fu-Tsai had to be escorted off the pitch in squabbles that added almost ten minutes of extra time at the end of the game.
Late in the match, Chinese Taipei did get a penalty after a De Jong foul inside the box.
Eduard Sacapano, named best goalkeeper of the tournament, blocked Yang Chao Hsun's spot kick and kept the score at 3-1 for the Philippines to clinch the title.
Azkals Coach Michael Weiss said the victory in the tournament is a huge confidence boost for the team, but warned that the Philippines will be up against much tougher rivals such as Thailand and Vietnam in the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.
"The matches in the Suzuki Cup will be completely different and we will face much higher competition, but we hope to bring home another trophy." noted Weiss. - Rappler.com