A six-goal first-half blitz from the Philippines has seen them claim the biggest win at the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup with a thumping 7-0 victory over Timor-Leste.

Those half a dozen first-half goals came in a 25-minute burst where Martin Steuble, Amin Nazari, Angel Guirado, Patrick Reichelt, Jesper Nyholm and Bienvenido Maranon all found themselves on the scoresheet.

Kevin Ingreso then became the seventh different scorer late in the second half to complete the statement win that keeps their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive, a performance that coach Stewart Hall said saw the team do exactly what they set out to do.

“I’m obviously pleased with the result, I set the players three targets: firstly win the game, secondly score goals and thirdly get in front early because I wanted to make changes and use substitutes." said the Englishman.

“We started strong and fast, pressed them high up, moving the ball quickly, got crosses in and we got the result so we achieved all of our objectives.”

Given the final scoreline it was something of a surprise that it actually took the Philippines a little while to get going with the first goal coming in the 21st minute as a left-footed shot from distance from Steuble flew into the goal off the hand of goalkeeper Aderito who perhaps should have done better with the shot.

That was the case again ten minutes later as a cross from the left from Stephan Schrock found its way to Nazari with his effort slipping through the fingers of the keeper. Once again Aderito was beaten from close range as Guirado’s downward header made it 3-0 in the 35th minute.

The goals kept coming as firstly Reichelt drove home a well-placed finish from adjacent to the penalty spot five minutes later before Jesper Nyholm headed home a corner at the back post to score his first international goal and make it five.

Remarkably there was time for another player to claim his first Azkals goal as Maranon picked up a spilled ball from Aderito after yet another Schrock cross in the first minute of stoppage time as the Philippines went to the break with a scarcely believable 6-0 lead.

Both teams made a string of changes at half-time and with the match all but already wrapped up the intensity was far less hectic with chances few and far between outside of a couple of headers from the Philippines shortly after the hour.

One of those changes was the lively Timor-Leste forward Paulo Gali and he had his nation’s best chance went he sent a free-kick from the edge of the box straight at the underworked Kevin Hansen in the Azkals goal with a touch over a quarter of an hour to play.

Ingreso then joined the scoring party as he swept home a cross from the right from on top of the penalty spot to make it 7-0 in the 78th minute. After Mike Ott dragged a late effort wide of the target, another substitute in Mouzinho did likewise for Timor-Leste and that was the way things ended with the Azkals making a real statement with the seven-goal win.

For Timor-Leste it was another harsh lesson having now made it three straight defeats at the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Coach Fabio Maciel, though, put a positive spin on things saying the side was much better in the second half after the introduction of some of their rotated regulars and also claiming that one of his young players has the potential to be a continental star.

“It’s difficult to explain and I don’t like to blame the players but the first half was shameful and the so-called senior players have to take responsibility for that. In the end I needed to bring the younger players on to try and change things and stop this shame.

“Again we saw the difference that Gali made and you can write the date that I said it, December 11, 2021, because if he can leave Timor then within three years he will be the best player in Asia.”