The Myanmar Men’s National Football Team reigned supreme in this year’s edition of the PFF Peace Cup, dethroning back-to-back champions Philippine Azkals in a match that ended 3-2 in extension time.
Myanmar took the early lead when Kyaw Ko Ko’s long range rocket from midfield hit the left goalpost and bounced into the goal. The first half ended 1-0.
Filipino-Japanese stalwart Daisuke Sato finally put the Philippines on the scoreboard on the 50th minute after eluding the speedy Myanmarese defense.
Phil Younghusband converted a penalty kick awarded for an illegal tackle inside the box on the 71st minute, to put the Azkals in the lead.
Undaunted, veteran Myanmar forward Min Min Thu took advantage of the Philippines’ defensive lapses in the 92nd minute to save them from a loss in regulation time.
Two fifteen-minute extension periods would decide which team would be awarded the championship trophy.
The Philippine side proved to be worthy contenders through various attempts from Amani Aguinaldo, Simone Rota and Sato, while Fil-German goal keeper Roland Muller was solid at the goal line.
But it was the Azkals’ loose marking that allowed Min Min Thu to complete a brace on the 100th minute that secured Myanmar’s championship trophy.
“We didnt do as great as we could have done on the field tonight,” said a dismayed Thomas Dooley.
Azkals skipper Rob Gier also expressed his frustrations over the loss. “Two losses in the finals in a span of three months is difficult to handle,” he said, referring to the loss to Palestine in the finals of the AFC Challenge Cup finals in Maldives earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar side, after being crowned champions, would like to replicate this win in the Suzuki Cup in December. Head Coach Radojko Avramovic, who was earlier ejected from the field due to excessive complaining regarding the referees’ calls, was ecstatic over the win. “Our efforts have paid off and we have won”, he said. Avramovic also noted the tremendous improvement of the Azkals based on their last encounter in February 2013.
The Philippine Football Federation concluded the Peace Cup 2014 on a high note with 7,000 spectators on finals night.
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