SEA Games: Heartbreaking exit for Young Azkals as Cambodia advances
BIÑAN – Amani Aguinaldo fired a hattrick as the Philippines crushed Timor Leste, 6-1, Wednesday but the winning margin was not enough to lift the Young Azkals to the semifinals of the men’s football tournament of the Southeast Asian Games.
Cambodia scoring a stunning 3-1 win over Malaysia at Rizal Memorial Stadium meant the hosts would have to wait two more years for a first a first appearance in the medal round since 1991.
The Filipinos looked on course to reach the semifinals when it took a 2-0 lead at the break on goals from Stephan Schrock and Aguinaldo at a packed Biñan Football Stadium.
But the Cambodians struck three times in the space of 12 minutes against Malaysia thanks to In Sodavid, Sieng Chanthea and Keo Sokpheng, who made it 3-0 in the 68th minute.
Mar Diano headed home the Azkals’ third goal in the 54th minute off a Schrock free kick, before Dylan De Bruycker rifled home the fourth in the 78th minute to close in on the Cambodians’ goal difference.
Aguinaldo grabbed his second of the night in the 86th minute and it looked like the Young Azkals still had an opportunity when Quentin Cheng scored for Malaysia.
After Aguinaldo’s 90th minute goal, the Young Azkals’ conceded in stoppage time as Nataniel Reis’ free kick slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus.
That meant the Cambodians finished ahead of the Filipinos on goal difference.
It will be the first semifinal appearance for the Cambodians, who finished second behind Myanmar in Group A.