A first half hattrick from Bienvenido Marañon helped the Philippines to a 3-2 win over Myanmar to close out their 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup campaign on a winning note.

Played in wet and humid conditions at Bishan Stadium the Spanish-born striker showed all his class in a dominant first half display, before the Azkals had to survive a late scare to seal all three points.

While coach Stewart Hall was happy with the win, he conceded that the inconsistent display epitomised their campaign that now ends at the group stage.

“Tonight pretty much summed up the run of the things, we could’ve done better in the tournament” he said after the match.

“The team was excellent in the first half. In the second half, we didn’t manage the game very well. It’s the same thing that happened in the three minutes against Singapore. That’s been the story of the tournament.”

The Azkals opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Myanmar’s defence failed to adequately clear Daisuke Sato’s cross into the box, with Marañon afforded enough time to take a touch and calmly slot the ball away to give his side the advantage.

The Philippines actually had the ball in the back of the net two minutes earlier, with Marañon again heavily involved, but Yrik Gallantes’ effort was ruled out for offside.

In a dominant five-minute period, the Azkals added a second on 19 minutes when Marañon made the difficult look easy with an exquisite first-time volley giving Myo Min Latt no chance.

Despite the early setbacks, Myanmar worked their way back into the game and had a great chance to pull a goal back when Suan Lam Mang made a brilliant run to the back post but the 27-year-old couldn’t direct the cross from Hein Htet Aung on target.

After surviving that scare, Marañon’s third goal on the stroke of half time looked to have put the contest beyond doubt.

Fellow striker Patrick Reichelt delivered an inch perfect cross to the edge of the six-yard area for Marañon to flick on to the back post and past the outstretched hands of Myo Min Latt.

Myanmar gave a better account of themselves in the second half and with 15 minutes to play pulled one goal back through Htet Phyo Wai after a quick and decisive break caught the Azkals defence off guard.

With just over five minutes remaining, another quick break resulted in another well worked goal for Myanmar and Htet Phyo Wai, making for a nervy finish for the Azkals who looked to have the game under complete control only ten minutes earlier.

Despite the late fightback, Myanmar couldn’t find a third to snatch the draw, but coach Antoine Hey was proud of the fight his team showed in the second half. 

“We started quite well to be honest, we had a couple of chances, but three crosses and three goals,” the German said.

“We made a couple of changes that worked well and came back strongly at the end. Maybe a draw would have been a fair result, but congratulations to the Philippines on the win.

“It was a good learning process this tournament, and now we will go back and reorganise ourselves for the next tournament in June.”