Muzangs bow out of AFF Futsal Championship

MANILA, Philippines - The Muzangs were eliminated from contention in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Championship after being defeated consecutively by Thailand and Vietnam at the Malawati Stadium in Malaysia. 

Coming out of a 4-4 draw against Laos on opening day, the Philippine national futsal team incurred their first defeat in the tournament after being devoured by powerhouse team Thailand, 1-16 on Saturday, September 20.

The Thais are seeded as the world’s number 17 while the Filipinos hold the 92nd spot in the world rankings. 

Despite being pounded by the offensive blitz of their foes, the Muzangs exposed a gap in Thailand’s defense in the first half and notched a solitary goal through the efforts of Robert Cañedo.

Meanwhile, proving their might over the lower ranked Philippine team, the Thai side exploded with a 16-goal landslide as proof of their dominant offense coming out of the gates.

To make matters worse for the Muzangs, another loss was tucked under their belts a day after through the hands of world number 47 Vietnam, who beat them 1-11 on Sunday, September 21. 

The formidable defense of the national futsal booters of the Philippines held off their rivals to just two goals going into the half preventing an early outburst from the Vietnamese side.

Consequently, nine more goals were tallied for the Golden Stars in the second half to cap off their 11-goal outing in the third day of the group stage of the competition.

United Football League standout and Green Archers United FC player Jovanie Simpron served as the country’s silver lining in the match after bagging the Muzangs only goal in the dying minutes of the final half.

As a result of the two consecutive losses, the Muzangs have officially bowed out of the title contention for the AFF Futsal Championship.

According to Muzangs head coach Red Avelino, they learned a lot from their experience playing with a top quality futsal club.

“This is the first time the Philippines actually played Thailand man to man. We had so many excellent moments during the game matching them one on one. These are World Cup players we were playing against, and we discovered our player's abilities, both strengths and weaknesses. We learned a lot from that experience,” he said.

Avelino added, “Vietnam beat us physically, they consistently applied high pressure, and all of them had excellent conditioning, they were like robots. We matched their speed and endurance, we just ran out of gas. They kept the pace and intensity high from start to finish. Vietnam's physical endurance and conditioning beat us. They capitalized on that split second where our players couldn’t catch up.”

The Muzang will play their final game in the tournament Tuesday, September 23 against Myanmar still at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam, Malaysia to cap off their crusade in the regional futsal meet. -