THE latest Azkals hero was denied of an encore performance.
OJ Porteria, who scored the winner in the 1-0 friendly victory of the Philippine men’s football team against Myanmar in Yangon on Wednesday night, returned to the country with fellow Azkal Chris Greatwich in time for their professional club’s United Football League game on Thursday night.
However, Kaya FC coach Maor Rozen refused to put them in the lineup against Pachanga-Diliman FC, which held on for a 1-0 victory.
“We rushed to come here for the game because me and Chris thought we were gonna play,” the 18-year-old striker said. “But coach talked to us before the game and he basically said he didn’t want to risk us getting injury because we played ninety minutes in the game against Myanmar.
“We understood that and respect his decision and just go on.”
Instead of sulking over his club’s loss, Porteria just reminisced about his sensational long-range goal for the country the night before.
“It was a little surprising because it wasn’t really a buildup,” he explained. “I saw the opportunity because I saw the Myanmar right back was a bit tired and flat-footed so I went straight at him and he was a little off-balanced so I took him to his right and took the shot hoping it would go in.
“Luckily, it went in.”
It was Porteria’s second international goal for the Azkals after he scored in the Philippine Football Peace Cup last September.
“Everything’s just a dream come true,” he said. “These moments are what I wished for two years ago when I first started playing with the Azkals, day in and day out, going in as the youngest player, and trying to prove myself to coach (Michael) Weiss.
“And all the hard work basically paid off so I’m thankful for that.”