By REYNALD MAGALLON
Dov Carino came through with a crucial header in extra time to help Philippine Azkals salvage a 1-1 draw against host Cambodia in the group stage of men’s football event in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Carino’s goal proved to be the saving grace and that came after he found the back of the net in stoppage time after heading the ball off a long pass that not only helped the Nationals to get on the board but also keep their semifinals hope alive in the tournament.
Hopes of winning the contest initially looked dim for the Philippines when Ky Rina scored the first goal of the contest for Cambodia at the 26th minute.
The Philippines along with head coach Rob Gier collectively heaved some sigh of relief as a loss in that contest would be disastrous to the team’s campaign especially after opening the tournament with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Indonesia last Saturday.
The young Azkals, however, remain in a difficult situation, sitting at the fourth spot of Group A behind Myanmar, Indonesia and pace-setting Cambodia who had four points on the board.
The Filipinos take on cellar-welling Timor Leste, which has yet to win a game in the tournament, on Thursday, May 4. A win for the Azkals would boost their chances of keeping in step with Myanmar and Indonesia who both have three points across the boards although the two teams have yet to play their second games