Unleashing the full brunt of its attack, the Philippines scored a 5-0 romp over Macau last night to move on the verge of the Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Making up for some poor finishing in the last few matches, Denis Wolf netted his first international hat trick to spearhead a bristling attacking display from the national side preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.
Patrick Reichelt, the hero in the 1-0 win against Guam Tuesday night, and Carli de Murga also got on the scoresheet in the second half as the Azkals displayed some clinical finishing that was missing for the most part in their first game.
Wolf struck from close range with a brilliant individual effort in the 22nd minute, before following up a saved effort from Chieffy Caligdong three minutes before halftime.
He completed the first hat trick by a Filipino international in two years since Ian Araneta struck for three against Timor Leste two years ago when the Fil-German confidently fired home from 10 yards off a cross from Demitrius Omphroy in the 64th minute.
The Azkals meet Chinese-Taipei tomorrow for the title, which could be the first international crown for the Philippines in almost a century.
Chinese-Taipei shut out Guam, 2-0, in the first match.
“Today, we got fortunate and the Philippines will be a tough game on Saturday (tomorrow),” said Taiwan coach Chian Mu-tsai through an interpreter.
With Filipino-American newcomer Matt Uy pulling the strings at midfield and Macau hardly putting pressure on the ball, the Azkals distributed the will and carved out chance after chance in a torrid opening half.
Araneta was guilty of missing a couple of chances early on, before he was substituted in the 36th minute by Jason Sabio. Wolf’s early goal calmed the Azkals nerves when he wriggled free inside the box, before firing to the top corner.
Wolf doubled the lead with a composed finish after a scramble inside the box. De Murga completed a fine team move in the 49th minute when he bundled home from close range after Marwin Angeles’ earlier shot was spilled by the Macau keeper Ho Man-fai, before Riechelt’s instinctive strike 20 minutes later rounded out the scoring for the Azkals.