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Muzangs draw with Laos in AFF Futsal Championship

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine national futsal team held Laos to a 4-4 draw to kick-off their crusade in the 2014 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Championship in Malawati Stadium, Shah Alam, Malaysia on Friday, September 19.

The Filipinos went on the offensive from the start of the opening half as Michael Reyes scored first blood four minutes into the game to take the lead for the Philippines.

A few minutes after, Vilakone Vannavong managed to hit an equalizer to tie the game at 1-1 in the 6th minute. 

In the 12th minute, a counter attack from the Muzangs exposed a flaw in the defense of Laos giving Patrick Bocobo space to stike and notch the second goal of for the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the booters from Laos answered with two consecutive shots that found the back of the net courtesy of Soulichanh Phasawaeng and Panida Sinthapaseuth. Laos took the lead, 3-2. 

As the hasty game continued, a counter attack from the Philippine side resulted in a goal, this time by team captain Floriano Pasilan but Laos did not back down as Soulichanh struck another ball to take the edge for his home squad.

Consequently, a penalty kick was awarded to the Muzangs in the dying minutes of the game. Jake Morallo converted it into a point and tied the game at 4-4 to prevent their foes from bringing home a win. 

“We had so many chances that were actually harder to miss than to score. Unfortunately, we were not able to convert and had to settle for a draw. The goals we let in were giveaways from minor lapses in judgment. We dominated the whole time. That win slipped from our grasps,” head coach Red Avelino said in an interview with Rappler.

The teams of Laos and the Philippines are housed in Group B, the group that also features Asian powerhouse futsal teams Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

Avelino stressed that their two next games will be hard fought as they are scheduled to play against Thailand and Vietnam.

“The next two games are actually the toughest. Its both fortunate and unfortunate to play a team like Thailand and Vietnam. [It’s] unfortunate because we happen to be grouped with the top 2 teams of the tournament and fortunate because we get the chance to play teams of their caliber. We have so much to learn from the experience alone.” 

“How do we plan to play them? Same way we always do, we play our best and play with full hearts,” Avelino said. 

The Muzangs will continue on their journey at the AFF futsal championship with a game against top seed Thailand on Saturday, September 20 still at the Malawati Stadium in Malaysia. - Rappler.com