SINGAPORE: The Philippines ended their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign on a high note on Saturday (Dec 18) after a 3-2 win over Myanmar to finish third in Group A.
A first-half hat-trick from Bienvenido Maranon secured the victory.
The Spanish-born striker found the net in the 16th, 19th and 45th minutes, running the show at a wet and humid Bishan Stadium in Singapore.
The Azkals opened the scoring when Myanmar’s defence failed to adequately clear Daisuke Sato’s cross into the box. Maranon had the time to take a touch and calmly slot the ball away to give his side the advantage, two minutes after Yrik Gallantes’ effort was ruled out for offside.
He soon found the net again with a first-time volley that left Myanmar goalkeeper Myo Min Latt with no chance.
Despite Myanmar's resilient efforts to get back into the game, Maranon seemingly put the contest out of reach by completing his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time.
The Philippines still had to work to do to secure the three points, as Myanmar made it a game of two halves with a late brace by Htet Phyo Wai.
A quick and decisive break caught the Azkals defence off guard in the 74th minute, while another break resulted in a well-worked goal for Htet Phyo Wai, ensuring a nervy end to the tournament for the Philippines.
Going into the match, both sides were already out of contention for the semi-finals. The Philippines ended their campaign third in Group A with six points. Myanmar is fourth, with three points.