By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Ilonggo booter Jovin Bedic provided all the offensive spark for the Azkals Under-23 team but suffered their first loss against Myanmar, 2-3, in the ongoing 2022 Southeast Asian Games.
It was Myanmar who struck a goal first after Win Naing Tun immediately cashed in a goal in the opening two minutes of the physical showdown.
However, the Philippine squad countered with a renewed focus on defense and held Myanmar scoreless for the next 43 minutes.
The superb Bedic answered the call for the young Azkals team after scoring their first goal of the match in the 34th minute off a well-placed header that went over the goalkeeper’s hands.
Bedic then completed his brace and lifted the Azkals’ spirits heading into the second half after sending in a penalty kick in the 38th minute of the first half.
The Philippines continued to stalk for goals after the whistle was blown in the second half but the Myanmar offense suddenly caught fire.
It was a sorry collapse for the Filipinos after giving up two goals in the second half: one during the 51st minute and the last goal converted in the 54th minute.
Myanmar’s Lwin Moe Aung and Soe Moe Kyaw broke the hearts of the Azkals squad and shocked the PHL defense to help their squad go up by 3-2.
Bedic and the rest of the team tried to add to their goal tally but Myanmar’s backline defense held its ground and prevented the comeback win for the Filipinos.
With the loss, the Azkals fell to third place in Group A with four points while Myanmar took over their top spot and is now in command with six points.
The young Filipino booters and head coach Norman Fegiredo will have the chance to bounce back and redeem themselves as they are set to clash with Indonesia tomorrow.