Azkals fall to Myanmar in Peace Cup final

Jaelle Nevin Reyes
Myanmar inched their way past the two-time defending champion Philippines to take the coveted Peace Cup crown
The Myanmar team celebrates their 3-2 victory over the Azkals to take the Peace Cup title. Photo by Josh Albelda

MANILA, Philippines – Another heartbreaking loss was witnessed by Filipino sports fans as Myanmar inched their way past the two-time defending champion Philippines, 3-2, to take the coveted Peace Cup crown from the home team in a heated game at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday, September 6. 

Myanmar’s offense went full on against the Azkals back-line from the opening whistle expressing their eagerness to conquer the home field of the Filipinos.

The Azkals tried to answer with several outburst of their own but the Burmese side of the pitch was well manned.

Meanwhile, a lob by Kyaw Ko Ko from well beyond the penalty box struck the upright and ricocheted into the back of the net leaving everyone in the stadium in awe as the Burmese took the lead early into the first half.

The booters of the Philippines tried to answer but the long balls were not connecting for the home squad as the defense of Myanmar proved to be too strong for them going into the half.

Consequently, Myanmar’s coach Radojko Avramovic was sent off to the stands during the stoppage period of the first half following a commotion on the sideline near the bench of his squad.

As play continued to the final half of the championship face-off, Daisuke Sato rolled in a sly goal from outside the box towards to back of Myanmar’s goal to level the match at 1-1.

The rejuvenated offense of the home team went into their attacking stance sending a barrage of shots towards the Thiha Si Thu-manned goal.

A penalty kick was awarded to the Philippines following a tackle on Patrick Reichelt inside the box. Phil Younghusband took the penalty and scored the goal that gave the Azkals the 2-1 advantage early in the second half.

James Younghusband celebrates the 2-1 goal. Photo by Josh Albelda

One minute into the stoppage period, substitute Min Min Thu captalised on a defensive lapse by the Azkals to tie the match, 2-2, and send the game into extra period. 

The momentum from the equalizer for the Burmese side continued into the first half of extra time as another fresh leg Soe Min Oo broke into the defense of the Azkals to take the lead, 3-2.

Myanmar’s defense foiled the sequence of urged attacks coming from the Philippine side in the second half of extra time to prevent the latter from scoring an equalizer and sending the game into a penalty shootout.    

Palestine defeats Chinese Taipei for third place

Coming off a disappointing defeat against Myanmar, Palestine triumphed against Chinese Taipei, 7-3, after a commanding performance to cap off their conquest for the 2014 Peace Cup.

Early into the first half, a goal was notched in by Javier Mereles to boost the morale of his team, who suffered a devastating 4-1 loss against Malaysia during the first match of the competition.

Three minutes after, the hot shooting offense of the Palestinians struck again as Ahmed Wridat fired a bullet through the goal of Chinese Taipei extending the lead of Palestine to 2-0.

As the game went on, a hard tackle was issued by the Taiwanese deep inside the box which resulted into a penalty but Pan Wei-Chih prevented the ball from finding the back of the net.

Tides turned come the second half as substitute Wu Pai Ho sank a penalty that was given to their side after Lin Chang-Lun got tackled deep inside the box.

Capitalizing on the momentum, Yen Ho-Shen found a gap in the defense of Palestine to tie the game at 2-2. 

A few moments after, the men from Chinese Taipei took the lead following a goal by Lin Chang-Lun but the Palestinians answered with a goal of their own courtesy of Abdulhamid Abuhabib to tie the game once more.

The game went into extra time as both teams had equal markers following the end of regulation. 

However, the Palestinians dominated the exhausted Taiwanese as they open the floodgates for Wridat who scored 3 more goals in the extra period. –

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