AS pandemonium broke loose around him, Patrick Reichelt ran like a wild man, kissed the Philippine flag on his jersey, and then pointed to his cheering Filipina mother in the stands.
It was understandable if Reichelt felt that way on this humid Tuesday night.
The Filipino-German midfielder came off the bench in the second half and scored the lone goal that lifted the Philippine men’s football team to a 1-0 victory over Guam at the start of the Philippine Football Peace Cup at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
In just his fourth game for the national team, Reichelt capitalized on a loose ball situation on the 81st minute to score on a header from the left side of the box that catapulted the Azkals to the top of this four-nation tournament.
The three points it earned following the win also lifted the spirits of an Azkals team that had been shrouded in controversy in the lead-up to the event following management's decision to leave out popular brothers Phil and James Younghusband.
“It was a dream come true,” said Reichelt, whose mother, Elizabeth, came from Cebu for a day just to watch his son play. “When you come in the game, you really want to change the game. That was the optimal cause for me.”
The loss put Guam at the tail end of the standings without a single point. It was the second straight loss by the team to the Azkals following their 0-3 loss in a friendly last June in Bacolod City.
Chinese Taipei and Macau fought to a 2-2 standoff in the first game to occupy the middle of the pack with a point each.
Without some of their European-based teammates and the Younghusband brothers, the Azkals could not duplicate their blowout win in The City of Smiles. But they still dominated the game, having 10 more attempts and six more corner kicks than their opponents.
The Azkals’ best chance in the first half came from skipper Chieffy Caligdong, whose close-range strike in the first-half injury time was too high.
“The level of play was not that high compared to Bacolod, but we had a different group that time. I expect a better match next game," said Azkals coach Michael Weiss, whose Azkals next face Macau on Thursday.
The national booters’ defense was also noteworthy, with keeper Edward Sacapaño having a remarkable job as the last line of defense with his numerous saves.
“We had our own opportunities to win the game,” Guam coach Gary White said. “We just had a slight lack of focus on our side and a little miscommunication with our keeper.”