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Ouano saves day for Team PH
THE Philippines turned to Ivan Ouano in salvaging a 2-2 draw with Timor-Leste at the start of the AFF Under-23 Championship Monday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
A product of National University, Ouano netted a brace as the Young Azkals found the Timorese a tough nut to crack before sharing points with their Group A foes.
“We know the quality of Timor-Leste as they have been together for three months as compared to the three weeks that we had,” said coach Stewart Hall, ruing the Philippines’ struggles to prepare for the tournament due to quarantine restrictions.
It took the Timorese just five minutes to open the scoring when Mouzinho Barreto De Lima fired in a penalty before the Young Azkals leveled just before the break when Ouano produced a fine finish.
Timor-Leste restored the lead in the 56th minute courtesy of Jaimito Soares when Ouano nailed the equalizer for the Philippines six minutes later by slotting it home off a mad scramble.
While the Timorese were disappointed with the result, Hall had a sigh of relief.
“The boys fought with great character to come back from two goals down. Timor-Leste gave us some problems tonight and Cambodia will give us different problems in our next game,” said Hall.
With the draw, the Young Azkals have no recourse but to go all-out for the victory against the Cambodians at 8 p.m. (Manila time) tomorrow.
Cambodia made a blistering start to its Group A campaign with a 6-0 whipping of Brunei for its first three points in front of 25,000 screaming fans at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.
The three group winners and the best runner-up will qualify for the semifinals.