THE Philippines Little Azkals split their matches on Wednesday, losing to Indonesia before beating Malaysia in the Japan-East Asean Football Exchange Programme U-14 Youth Football Festival at the J-Green Sakai football complex in Osaka, Japan.
The Under-14 Azkals bowed to the Indonesians, 0-2, before getting back on track with a 2-1 victory over the Malaysians.
They now tote a 2-1 win-loss record after they got off to an auspicious debut on Tuesday where they blanked Brunei 3-0.
Darius Joseph “Jed” Diamante, the Little Azkals’ team captain from Davao, scored both the Little Azkals goals inside the first 13 minutes of the match played over two 25-minute halves.
Diamante scored in the eighth minute in a three-pronged drive with teammates Ray Sanciangco and fellow Davao mainstay Javi Romero-Salas.
Displaying style developed in a recent training in Sicily, Italy and a stint in the Asian Football Federation Football Festival in Kota Kinabalu, Diamante cut through the defense, took a nifty penetration pass from Romero-Salas before outsmarting the Malaysian 'keeper with a lob.
Riding on that early momentum, the Little Azkals reprised the same play five minutes later with Diamante joined by Majordean Ebarle and Marco Casambre for another goal.
The Malaysians could not find the net despite several attempts in the face of an inspired Philippine defense.
It was only in the final minute that the Little Azkals yielded a goal to the Malaysian side for the final tally.
The Philippines-Malaysia encounter in the Under-14 division came after the two countries’ senior teams played to a scoreless draw in an international friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur last June 1. The two nations also battled to a 1-all draw in Manila in February. The Malaysia Tigers are the reigning Suzuki Cup champions.