By Jonas Terrado
BINAN, Laguna — The Philippines missed out on a semifinals berth in men’s football despite a 6-1 thrashing of Timor-Leste Wednesday at the Binan Football Stadium in Laguna.
The Young Azkals’ saw their semifinal dreams slip away when team captain Nathaniel Dos Ries scored off a free kick after goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus failed to get a firm grip of the ball, much to the dismay of majority of the 3,300 fans in attendance.
Cambodia ended up securing the other semis slot in Group A after a 3-1 win over Malaysia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Both Cambodia and the Philippines finished level at seven points apiece but the Angkor Warriors progressed on goal difference.
The Cambodians had a goal difference of +6 while the national U-22 booters were at +5.
Had the two countries stayed even on goal difference, the most goals will be used to determine the tiebreaker.
Cambodia scored 10 during the group stage while the Philippines had eight.
“Ang sakit,” a tearful Amani Aguinaldo said before politely excusing himself from reporters.
Aguinaldo, who joined Stephan Schrock as the two allowed overaged players for the competition, produced a hat trick in perhaps his best game in a national team jersey.
But the senior team defender would rather trade his statistical feat for the needed result if given the chance.
Schrock, Dylan de Bruycker and Mar Vincent Diano were the other goalscorers for the Young Azkals
The Young Azkals came into the competition well prepared than the previous U-22 editions, even competing in the Copa Paulino Alcantara as part of their buildup.
Dennis Chung salvaged the Young Azkals from defeat with an extra time equalizer to force a 1-1 tie with Cambodia.
The Young Azkals lost 2-1 to Group A winner Myanmar the following match before Schrock’s corner gave them a dramatic 1-0 upset of Malaysia.