The Philippines absorbed a stunning 1-2 defeat to Timor Leste Monday, dimming its chances of advancing to the semifinals of the men’s football competition of the 26th Southeast Asian Games at the Lebak Bulus Stadium in Jakarta.
It was the second straight loss for the Under-23 Azkals, who also lost to Vietnam, 1-3, and now find themselves virtually out of medal contention in only the country’s second appearance in the competition in six years.
Timor found themselves in an unlikely position as the top team in Group B with six points, followed by Vietnam and Myanmar with four points each. Brunei and Laos, which both dropped their opening-day matches, were to play Tuesday night.
The result counts as an upset as no Timorese side had defeated a Philippine squad in four matches at the senior level.
The SEA Games is played at the Under-23 level and Timor Leste, facing the Azkals for the first time, had shown its quality in the 2-1 victory over Brunei over the weekend. The Azkals, on the other hand, had struggled to find their attacking rhythm against Vietnam.
Picking up from where they left off in the victory against Brunei, the Timorese, who lost all four games in their debut in SEA Games football two years ago in Laos, took the lead in the 17th minute with Murilo Rebeira scoring on a tap in after a break down on the Azkals defense left side.
Timing his run well and clinical with his finish, OJ Porteria equalized in the 37th minute, latching unto a cross from Patrick Hinrichsen from the left for 1-1 at halftime.
Quick on the counter attack, the Timorese got off to a fiery start in the second half with Diogo Santos restoring the lead by beating Hinrichsen on the left flank and shooting past Roland Muller in the 48th minute.
The Azkals improved in the later stages, attacking with more purpose with Jason De Jong and Manny Ott getting into dangerous areas and Carli de Murga also forcing a fine save from Emerson Carlos with his left-footed strike in the 75th minute.
But Timor still had the better chances with Antonio Marcus’ header just denied by the crossbar off a corner kick and Porteria also needing to make a goal line clearance on a Murillo shot from point-blank range in the 54th minute.
The Azkals made two changes to the side that lost to Vietnam with coach Hans Michael Weiss, who had rued that jetlag had bothered some of his players from Europe, sending in Gerardo Valmayor for Joshua Beloya and Hinrichsen replacing Neckson Leonora at leftback.
Valmayor, the UAAP rookie of the year, who helped University of the Philippines to the title early this year, had a long range effort from outside the box saved late in the second half when the Azkals pushed forward.
The Azkals hope to end their winless slump when they face Laos on Friday also at the Lebak Bulus Stadium.
2011 Southeast Asian Games