MANILA—Buoyed by its stirring first leg win, Teknika captured the Smart-PFF Club Championship crown Monday night—but not before going through some anxious moments on the way to completing a 3-2 aggregate victory over Smart San Beda before a lively crowd at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Despite losing 0-2 on the night, Teknika gained enough cushion from its first leg triumph Saturday when Sudanese striker Izo El-Habbib struck a hat-trick to power the NCR side to victory.
El-Habbib, the skillful striker with a knack for scoring sensational goals, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament—which was revived after a four-year hiatus following the entry of corporate backer Smart.
“It’s a blessing that we still won the title,” said Teknika coach Frank Muescan. “We were very relaxed in this game and it showed in the result. Still, I have to give credit to my players for their effort and the management for their support.”
Returning from suspension, Phil and James Younghusband gave San Beda a glimmer of hope with a goal in each half and set the stage for a pulsating ending.
Phil opened the scoring 13 minutes into the game when he put a low shot past Teknika keeper Kenneth Dolloso, before James put San Beda within a goal of sending the game into extra time with his curling free kick in the 71st minute.
But Teknika, aided by some stout defending, preserved the win as San Beda wasted gilt-edged chances to equalize late on in an enthralling finish.
Teknika’s defense was stretched on more than one occasion as San Beda knocked the ball around at will, slick passing its way to the attacking third in the second half.
Phil Younghusband had several long range efforts either flying over the bar or going just wide, while substitute Roy Lanting could not get a solid hit on the ball with the goal at his mercy in the first minute of injury time in what was San Beda’s best chance to level the match.
James Younghusband also had a long-range shot rattle the crossbar midway in another close call for a dominant second half display by San Beda.
Chances came few and far between for Teknika, which was put on the backfoot by a San Beda side determined to overhaul a three-goal deficit.
San Beda looked lively early on with James Younghusband, seeing more of the ball as he was deployed at central midfield, freely roaming the top of the box to create scoring chances.
Phil Younghusband also proved menacing up front, forcing Badrelin El-Habbib, Valentine Kama, David Basa and Jerry Barbaso to work doubly hard to keep the Azkals striker at bay.
San Beda’s early pressure paid off in the 13th minute when Phil Younghusband pounced on some pedestrian defending from Marlowe Cortes to claim the ball from eight yards and slot it past Dolloso.
James Younghusband had an early shot blocked by El-Habbib, while Phil saw his free kick from 30 yards easily saved by Dolloso.
San Beda barely missed doubling the lead in the 25th minute when Paul Concepcion only managed a weak shot after Phil Younghusband found him unmarked inside the area.
Teknika’s best chance in the first half fell to Misagh Bahadoran, whose looping header was saved on the line by Roxy Dorlas.
Picking up from where it left off in the first half, San Beda started brightly in the second half with the Younghusband brothers again showing their attacking intent.
A quick 1-2 move with James momentarily freed up Phil, but his shot from a tight angle went wide as San Beda cranked up the pressure in the second half.
The second goal though wouldn’t come until the 71st minute when James curled home a free kick from 25 yards to beat Dolloso after Phil earned a foul following another brilliant run.
San Beda laid siege on Teknika’s goal in the final 10 minutes, but the NCR team proved up to the task defensively.
“We played better. We were unlucky not to score more, but that’s football” James Younghusband said.