The Philippine national football teams were off to blazing starts as they turned back their respective foes in the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday night in Malaysia.
Coming alive in the second half, the men’s Under-22 national squad blanked Cambodia, 2-0, at the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium.
“We prepared for this game. I’m just happy we were able to start our journey to the semifinals with a win,” said head coach Marlon Maro.
With the victory, the young Filipino booters got an early hold of the second spot in Group B.
Reymart Cubon opened up the scoring in the 50th minute as the unmarked midfielder headed home a corner kick by Jarvey Gayoso.
Eight minutes before time, Kouichi Belgira fired a stunning free kick that found the bottom corner of the net to seal the opening win.
Meanwhile, the women’s national team upset host Malaysia, 2-1, at the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Stadium.
“It was good to pick up the three points against a very tough host,” said head mentor Let Dimzon.
The Malditas clinched their first win in the biennial meet in 12 years. They last won against Indonesia, 2-0, in 2005.
Co-captain Patrice Impelido nodded in a set piece shortly before the first half whistle but Dadree Rofinus equalized for Malaysia in the 54th.
Camille Rodriguez notched the match-winner late in the game as the striker launched a long shot that sailed past the Malaysian goalkeeper.
Both the national squads swing back to action on Thursday with the men’s team facing Indonesia at the Shah Alam Stadium and the women’s side taking on last edition’s bronze medalist Vietnam at the Universiti Malaya Stadium.