MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals is off to a great start of their 2013 campaign as they beat Myanmar, 1-0, in their friendly match in Yangon on Wednesday, February 6.
OJ Porteria scored the winning goal on the 77th minute for the Philippines off an assist from Ian Araneta in the FIFA-sanctioned international friendly against the White Angels.
The Azkals youngster released a bullet of a strike at the top of the box, reminiscent of Shcrock's long-range miracle goal against Kuwait in the World Cup Qualifiers, and caught the Myanmar keeper flat footed to lift the Azkals to victory against the dominant White Angels.
Despite missing the presence of dynamite midfielders Stephan Schrock and Paul Mulders, the Azkals were effective in the middle of the pitch at the start of the second half after a quiet first half.
(Here is the live blog of the match)
The first half was pretty much a story of Myanmar attacking and the Philippines defending.
The White Angels showed pace and brilliant ball handling from the start of the match with relentless attacks in the left flank, pushing the Azkals to play defensively. The first real chance of Myanmar came in the 12th minute after a good cross caught the Azkals defense sleeping, leaving a Myanmar player wide open for goal. Fortunately, Neil Etheridge made himself wide enough and the Myanmar attacker sends the ball sky high.
Myanmar continued their attack with a strike from a brilliant cross in the 15th minute but Etheridge once again rose to the occassion and collects the ball.
The Azkals' best chances came in the 34th minute after an offside strike from Reichelt and a long range strike from Manny Ott in the 35th minute that saw the Myanmar keeper make a last ditch save to maintain the 0-0 scoreline.
The second half was a different story with the Philippines playing more effectively in the middle of the park and playing toe-to-toe with the pacy Myanmar side.
Myanmar started off the second half with waves of attack that threatened the Azkals back line but Etheridge continued to be a strong presence between the posts.
First chance of the Azkals came in the 62nd minute with a Chieffy Caligdong strike in the box from a Phil Younghusband cross. The Myanmar keeper, however, anticipated Caligdong's strike and stopped before it can go beyond the goal line.
Myanmar proved deadly on the counterattack right after the Azkals strike with a running offense in the box but Etheridge made a good account of himself and collects the ball. The Myanmar attack continued in the 73rd minute with an overhead cross but the Fulham goalkeeper, once again, easily collects the ball.
The winning goal from the Azkals came in the 77th minute after substitute Ian Araneta made a quick pass to OJ Porteria who made a long-range strike at the top of the box that went past a stunned Myanmar keeper.
Araneta could have made it 2-0 in the 84th minute if his shot was not called offside.
This is the Philippines' second win in a row against the White Angels after defeating the Burmese side, 2-0, in the last match of the group stages of the recently concluded 2012 Suzuki Cup.
The international friendly is part of the Azkals' preparations for the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers that will be held in Rizal Memorial Stadium on March 22-26. - Rappler.com