MARK Hartmann turned the Rizal Memorial Stadium into a personal playground on Sunday night as he led the Philippine men's football team to a 5-0 shutout of Papua New Guinea in their friendly.
Showing why he is the reigning United Football League Golden Boot winner, the Global FC striker netted all but one of the Azkals' goals en route to the expected rout.
What's more impressive is that Hartmann needed just one half to reach his massive output against a side ranked 65 spots below the 134th-ranked Filipino booters.
Phil Younghusband added the other goal for the hosts in the match, used as part of their preparations for the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup next month.
Hartmann opened the floodgates barely two minutes into the match, registered a hat-trick within the first 19 minutes, before sneaking in a goal deep in first-half stoppage time to complete his effort.
The Azkals never scored after that, but it hardly mattered.
“I was very happy with the first half,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said. “On the other hand, in the second half when we switched players, it wasn’t that fluid anymore.”
The visitors' best chance came in the 63rd minute when skipper David Muta drew a foul from Azkals counterpart Rob Gier from near the box. That rewarded them a close-range free kick, which, however, was punched out by goalkeeper Patrick Deyto.
The match saw the Azkals debut of UAAP MVP and midfield dynamo Paolo Bugas, who was one of four substitutes who came after intermission. A round of applause greeted Hartmann when he came off the field 14 minutes into the second half.
Chants of “We want Chieffy” were heard from the crowd in the second half, but Dooley didn’t field returning Azkal Chieffy Caligdong.