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AFF U23 Championship

Timor-Leste and Philippines lock horns in AFF U23 Championship opener

10:00 AM GMT+8 13/02/2022
Paulo Gali Oliver Bias
The tournament opener promises to be an entertaining encounter between two teams who last met in October 2021

Timor-Leste will be brimming with confidence heading into the tournament following some encouraging performances at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 back in December, with O Sol Nascente bringing a squad to Cambodia that is not too dissimilar from the one they had in Singapore.

That means the likes of Paulo Gali and Mouzinho will be leading the line once more as Timor-Leste aim to improve on their previous two group-stage exits.

They lost all three games at the inaugural edition in 2005, before getting their first - and thus far only - win in 2019 when they saw off Philippines 1-0 courtesy of a strike from the aforementioned Mouzinho.

They have further reason for optimism following their performances at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers, where they repeated the trick against Philippines with another narrow 1-0 victory.

TIMOR-LESTE U23 RECENT RESULTS

Date

Match

Competition

October 31, 2021

Timor-Leste 1-0 Philippines

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 28, 2021

Timor-Leste 0-6 South Korea

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 25, 2021

Singapore 2-2 Timor-Leste

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

Philippines will be slightly less confident after an underwhelming AFF Suzuki Cup, even if there were mitigating circumanstances, and their inability to score even a single goal in their AFC U23 Asian Cup qualification campaign last October, regardless of the presence of superstar in the making Oliver Bias.

Gifted midfielders Sandro Reyes and Lance Ocampo are other players to watch for the Young Azkals, who - like their upcoming opponents - have yet to make it out of the group stages at the competition.

In fact, they have only won one of their six games at the U23 - which was previously U22 - competition. You've guessed it, that victory came at the expense of Timor-Leste back in 2005.

PHILIPPINES U23 RECENT RESULTS

Date

Match

Competition

October 31, 2021

Timor-Leste 1-0 Philippines

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 28, 2021

Philippines 0-1 Singapore

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

October 25, 2021

South Korea 3-0 Philippines

2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualification

A win in the tournament opener will put whoever emerges victorious on the day in a good position heading into their remaining two Group A encounters against hosts Cambodia and Brunei, with the three group winners as well as the best runner-up qualifying for the semi-finals.

Timor-Leste will meet Brunei on matchday 2, with Philippines thus locking horns with Cambodia on February 17.

The final matchday on February 20 then pairs Cambodia with Timor-Leste, while Philippines take on Brunei.

GROUP A STANDINGS

Position

Team

Games

Points

Goal difference

1.

Cambodia

0

0

0

2.

Timor-Leste

0

0

0

3.

Philippines

0

0

0

4.

Brunei

0

0

0