Young Azkals get PH SEA Games campaign going with rout of Timor Leste

Philippine Azkals U23. ZING SPORTS PHOTO

Philippine Azkals U23. ZING SPORTS PHOTO

The Philippines opened its campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on the right foot, flaunting a fearless attacking display in a 4-0 rout of Timor Leste in men’s football on Friday at Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho, Vietnam.

It will only get harder from hereon for the Under-23 Azkals, who are grouped with defending champion Vietnam, 2019 runner-up Indonesia and Myanmar.

“We sleep, eat and we go again,” said captain Stephan Schrock, one of two veterans allowed in SEA Games football.

The Filipinos battle Vietnam on Sunday and will go into that match with at least some momentum after Christian Rontini, Dennis Chung, Jovin Bedic and Oskari Kekkonen provided the goals that gave coach Norman Fegidero his first win in this year’s event.

Rontini cashed in on Schrock’s cross and knocked in a header in the 11th minute, before the Filipinos used a strong second half to end the hopes of the Timorese.

“It’s always going to be difficult going into the tournament because we don’t know exactly where we are as a team, but everyone showed a lot of commitment and discipline,” said Schrock. “The boys did very well.”

The Filipinos have a one-day break before taking on the Vietnamese on Sunday in a match that could determine their chances of advancing to the semifinals.

Chung got on the scoresheet in the 56th minute on another setup from Schrock before Bedic made it 3-0 in the 78th minute. Kekkonen scored nine minutes from time.

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