By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
The 2018 AFC Suzuki Battle campaign for Filipino men's national football team began with a 1-0 victory over Singapore at its tournament opening on Tuesday evening in Panaat Park and Soccer Stadium in Bacolod City.
Playing with a new coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, the talent failed to make the tournament debut, with Patrick Reichelt's 78-minute goal, which turned out to be the minimum goal.
The game was closely fought on the start, both teams had their chances, but they could not improve it, and the result was a break for a zero point.
In the second half, Azkals turned out to be more aggressive in capturing the fight against Singapore, and in this process, it became possible to count points.
Their efforts ultimately paid dividends at 78 minutes when Mr Reichelt converted a pass from Phil Younghusband, traversing traffic and highlighting the goal, sending his hometown to the crowd celebrations.
Singapore tried to abandon the target for the remaining regulation and the added five minutes, and had prospects, but the Philippine defense was able to maintain victory and earn three points going with it.
"We got three points, but it was not a simple game. Singapore has very good players and they played very direct. It is very difficult to play against them, but I think we had a very good game technically and we had a good fighting spirit, and I'm very happy about the whole country and our team, "said Eriksson after their victory.
As for the game character of Reichelt, the winner had a good start for them, and he was very happy to have won what turned out to be the winning goals.
"At first we had problems, but it was great to play at home here in Panaade, and to me, that goal goal was very satisfying, and this is a good start for us in Suzuki coffee," said Ceres-Negros player.
Next Azkala has a meeting with Timor-Liste on November 17 in Malaysia.