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AFF U23 Championship

AFF U23 Championship: Philippines head home despite winning 2-1 against Brunei

10:46 PM MYT 20/02/2022
Philippines vs Brunei U23
Heartbreak for Philippines despite giving their all on the pitch

Philippines 2-1 win over Brunei went in vain as they find themselves ousted from the AFF U23 Championship after finishing in third place in Group A. Dennis Chung (48') and Sandro Reyes (58') were on target for the winning side while Hakeme Said (59') scored for Brunei.

It was one-way traffic right from the first whistle as Philippines looked like a side-possessed with the hunger to win. They pinned Brunei to the wall and tried to breach their resistance with sustained pressure on the backline. However, credit to the defenders that they kept their calm and was not letting the likes of Mariano Suba, Marcel Ouano the space that they would have liked inside the box.

Hakeme Said tried his luck from distance on a couple of occasions but could not trouble Mutalip with his efforts. There was a growing sense of desperation in the body language of the players as the clock kept ticking. They were trying all the tricks up their sleeve to get their nose in front but a resolute Brunei defence proved to be a tough nut to crack. With three minutes from half-time, Sandro Reyes managed to pull the trigger from inside the box amidst a jungle of legs but his effort was saved by an on-rushing Mutalip.

The second half started in the same vein but this time Mutalip turned villain as he made a school-boy error under the sticks. The shot-stopper made a meal of what should have been a routine take from a corner. The loose ball was not cleared by the defence and Dennis Chung's side volley rippled the net to break the deadlock.

A few minutes later in the 59th minute, they doubled their head through Reyes. Matt Ocampo was absolutely brilliant on the right flank to turn peel off his marker before drilling in a low cross inside the box. Andres Aldeguer backheeled the ball in the path of Reyes who made no mistake to score by slotting the ball in the bottom right corner.

Soon after the restart, Brunei halved the deficit after Mohammad Haji Adanan released Hakeme Said in the left and the forward wrapped his laces around the ball to beat Enrico Mangaoang under the sticks. But their resurgence soon fell flat on its face as Philippines once again took control of proceedings.

In the 75th minute, Kieran Hayes set up Reyes with a brilliant through ball. The attacking midfielder did his best to make room for himself and then pulled the trigger but his effort went whiskers away from the post. Although Philippines won the battle they lost the war as they failed to secure a knockout berth with just four points from three matches. Whereas, Brunei will head back home without any point to their kitty. Timor-Leste have progressed to the semifinals whereas Cambodia are still in contention for a knockout berth.