By JONAS TERRADO
Ivan Ouano scored twice, including a second half equalizer, as the Philippines salvaged a 2-2 draw against Timor-Leste to begin its campaign in the AFF U-23 Championship at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Ouano’s second goal came in the 61st off when he bundled the ball off a corner kick which enabled the Young Azkals to share the spoils with the Timorese side after the final whistle.
The former National University booter and current member of the Azkals Development Team previously tied the match at 1-1 before halftime during a counterattack.
It was a result which coach Stewart Hall’s squad will gladly take, but the U-23s can’t afford to drop more points in its next two Group A matches in its quest to reach the semis either as one of the three group winners or the best second placer.
Up next is a match against host Cambodia on Thursday, Feb. 17 at the same venue.
Playing on home soil, Cambodia opened its own stint in the regional competition with a 4-0 drubbing of Brunei.
The Young Azkals fell behind seven minutes after kickoff when Mouzinho scored from the spot after Timor-Leste won a penalty.
Timor-Leste held the lead until the 45th when Jacob Maniti slid a pass for Ouano, who fired a left-footed attempt past goalie Junildo Pereira.
The scoreline lasted until the 56th as Jaimito Soares struck a low attempt which Philippine keeper Quincy Kammeraad couldn’t prevent to put Timor-Leste back in front.
A corner kick minutes later set up another goal from Ouano, who got to send the ball past the goal line after he and Pereira battled for control.