The Philippine national football team hammered out a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over the visiting Pakistan squad on Tuesday night to successfully defend their Philippine Peace Cup title.
Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, where the 2013 Philippine Peace Cup was played, is less than 200 kilometers from the epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 100 people in the central Philippines.
The Philippine team, nicknamed the "Azkals" (Street Dogs), was down by a goal courtesy of Pakistan's Kalim Ullah early in the match. After repeated Filipino attempts at an equaliser, Eintracht Frankfurt right back Stephan Schrock flicked a cross to the trailing Patrick Reichelt, who tapped the ball into a wide-open goal. Ullah again threatened a short while after, forcing a sliding save from keeper Neil Etheridge.
The second half was faster and more aggressive for both sides. Schrock was moved forward after playing the first half at midfield, leading an Azkals charge that almost led to a counterattack from the Pakistanis. Reichelt attempted headers twice after an excellent Angel Guirado cross, getting stopped both times before forward Chris Greatwich capitalised on the confusion inside the penalty area to bring the Philippines ahead, 2-1.
Pakistan surged yet again as Saddam Hussain fired a long ball that landed squarely in Etheridge's arms. With two minutes to go in the match and with the Philippines needing one more goal to secure the Peace Cup victory, substitute Mark Hartmann found Reichelt on the right flank. Reichelt then made a great turn that allowed him to go all the way to the Pakistan side of the pitch, where he made a great pass to the rushing Schrock, who converted with his second touch.
While the Philippines lost to Chinese Taipei 1-2 in the opening match of the pocket tournament, Pakistan shocked the East Asians on Sunday, 1-0, paving the way for what would be the determining match of the Peace Cup.
The successful Peace Cup tournament was supposed to be a celebration of the Philippines' peace process, but it also brought some semblance of consolation to a country reeling from a massive earthquake that occurred barely 12 hours before the match. Bacolod City, where the match was played, is less than 170 kilometers away from Bohol, which was struck hardest by the 7.2 magnitude tremor that killed at least 97 people and destroyed buildings, including several Spanish-era Catholic churches that were considered heritage sites.
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