Hong Kong: Sven-Goran Eriksson started his stint as Philippines coach with a 1-0 win over Singapore in their Asean Football Federation Championship opener on Tuesday evening.
The former England manager was appointed last month to lead the Azkals through the Asean Championship before taking them to their first appearance at the finals of the Asian Cup in the UAE in January.
The Swede, though, has work to do if he is to build a team that will make much of an impression at the continental championships early next year, after a lacklustre performance against the Singaporeans.
Despite dominating possession, the Philippines created little of note, with Phil Younghusband going closest to breaking the deadlock before Patrick Reichelt scored the only goal of the game 12 minutes from time.
The win gives the Philippines three points and sees them go level with Thailand, Indonesia and the Singaporeans in Group B of the regional tournament. The top two in the five-team group advance to the semi-finals.
Indonesia bounced back from their opening day loss to Singapore to pick up a 3-1 win over East Timor, but only after going behind to the tournament minnows.
Rufina Gama gave East Timor the lead with a stunning curling strike from outside the area three minutes into the second half. But Alfath Fathier’s low bouncing effort levelled the scores on the hour mark.
Indonesia went in front via Stefano Lilipaly’s penalty nine minutes later and Beto Goncalves’ towering header eight minutes from time put the result beyond doubt.