Sports

Azkals remain best football team in Southeast Asia

Members of the Philippine Azkals national football team led by James and Phil Younghusband, center, talk to media in this file photo. The Azkals slipped six notches in the world ranking to no. 134, but remains the No. 1 football team in Southeast Asia according to the latest rankings released by FIFA.
Members of the Philippine Azkals national football team led by James and Phil Younghusband, center, talk to media in this file photo. The Azkals slipped six notches in the world ranking to no. 134, but remains the No. 1 football team in Southeast Asia according to the latest rankings released by FIFA.

The Philippine Azkals national football team, slipped six notches in the world ranking to no. 134, but remains the No. 1 football team in Southeast Asia according to the latest rankings released by FIFA.

The Azkals fell from 128 to 134 after they took a 2-3 loss to Myanmar in the 2014 Philippine Peace Cup finals two weeks ago.

The Philippine national men’s football team failed in its attempt to win the title for the third straight time as a pesky Myanmar squad prevailed in extra time, 3-2, to win

The Azkals, gunning for a third consecutive Philippine Football Peace Cup title on home soil at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, fell short and lost to Myanmar.

Myanmar’s Kyaw Ko Ko bounced the football against crossbar and into the back of the net which gave the visitors an early 1-0 lead in the first half.

The Azkals woke up early in the second half as Daisuke Sato scored his first international goal by rifling the football from outside the box to tie the game at 1-1.

Patrick Reichelt was then hacked inside the box by a Myanmar player. The visitors were assessed a yellow card to the visitors and the Azkals awarded a penalty kick which Phil Younghusband converted to push the Philippines ahead, 2-1, in the 71st minute.

The Azkals were headed to their third Peace Cup championship but relaxed too soon. Myanmar’s Min Min Thu drilled a shot in injury time to tie the match at 2-all and send the match to extra time.

Myanmar then grabbed back the advantage when they scored another goal at the 100th minute for a 3-2 advantage.

The Azkals had chances to score but could not convert because of the dilligence of Myanmar’s goalkeeper. Mark Hartmann and Misagh Bahadoran had decent shots which were foiled by the Myanmar goalkeeper.

Based on the latest football world rankings the Philippines is 134th in the world but remains the number one country in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is second with a world ranking of 142. Myanmar, which climbed 17 spots, is third at 143. Singapore is in fourth spot (world no. 149). Other SEA countries are: Malaysia at no. 5 (world no. 154), Indonesia (156), Thailand (158), Laos (169), Brunei (190), Timor-Leste (193), and Cambodia (199).

Based on the rankings the Philippines will be one of the favorites to win the AFF Suzuki Cup, co-hosted by Singapore and Vietnam, to be held November 22 to December 20.

The 2014 AFF Cup, sponsored by Suzuki and officially named the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, will be the tenth edition of the ASEAN Football Championship, the football championship of Southeast Asia. Singapore is the defending champion after winning the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup.

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