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Indons beat PH booters

KUALA LUMPUR – Falling prey to defensive lapses and relentless pace, both Philippine squads suffered lopsided setbacks to separate rivals in the 29th Southeast Asian Games football tournament here Thursday night.

The national U22 booters were unable to recover from two miscues in the first half to absorb a 0-3 beating from a frisky Indonesian side that was supported by close to 5,000 roaring fans at the sprawling Shah Ahlam Stadium.

It was their first loss in Group B of the men’s competition.

The Malditas, on the other hand, couldn’t contain powerhouse Vietnam after a scoreless standoff as fatigue set in and took a 0-3 defeat at the UM Arena in Petaling Jaya for their first setback in the women’s tourney.

“I cannot accept those first two goals by Indonesia because we lost our focus and concentration on defense,” lamented men’s coach Marlon Maro. “Those goals were not supposed to happen.”

He was referring to the sixth-minute goal of midfielder Septian David Mulana, who struck from pointblank range from right cross and the other in the 37th from skipper Pranata Hansamu Yama. The Filipino back row was caught napping in both instances.

But Maro conceded the Indons’ third goal: a swirling 30-yard volley from midfielder Ramdani Saddil that sailed over two defenders to the top right of the net in the 58th beyond the reach of Filipino goalie Joyel Ray Joseph.

The veteran mentor rued the potential first goal of his charges in the 56th minute that was ruled offside by the linesman, which he said could have changed the complexion of the game.

Inside a crowded goal area, Javier Augustine Gayoso struck a free kick that bounced off the Indon defensive wall, with team captain Julian Clarino booting it in clearly, raising the Filipino camp’s hopes.

But it was deflated just as quickly dashed when the right linesman raised his flag, nullifying the goal.

“Alam ko po di ako offside. I moved only after the ball hit one of the Indonesian defenders,” said the crestfallen Clarino of the missed opportunity.

“Our hope in reaching the semis is not yet over,” stressed Maro, whose charges have a two-day break before facing Vietnam on Sunday. “With the two-day rest I hope I will have my first eleven fresh for the game.”