THE Philippine Azkals badly need a win in the 2016 AFF-Suzuki Football Tournament.
Team manager Dan Palami said this after the Singapore Lions, playing with 10 men in the second half, frustrated the Azkals with a scoreless draw Saturday night in their opening game at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“We didn’t convert on our chances. We had pretty good chances. It’s the breaks of the game. We should have been patient and not too much in a hurry to score goals,” said Palami.
Patience will definitely be a virtue that the Azkals will work on when they take on the Indonesian Merah Putihs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
And this is what seems to be lacking after former Azkals’ coach Simon Mcmenemy noted that the Azkals fell into Singapore’s tactics, which was to get behind the ball, and “with nothing going forward.”
“(Goalkeeper) Ronald Muller hardly touched the ball. There’s too many players dropping to midfield. There’s no one playing as an out-and-out striker. Misagh (Basahoran) was up top. He was stationary,” noted Mcmenemy, who handled the Azkals back in 2010.
The defending champion Thailand War Elephants are in the solo lead of Group A after come-backing Teerasil Dangda scored a hat trick for the War Elephants, who turned back the Merah-Putih, 4-2.
The War Elephants will have a good chance of reaching the semis if they score their second straight win in their clash with the Lions earlier at 4:30 p.m.
The Merah Putihs are back after they got banned by FIFA from joining the international meets for one year.
Indonesian coach Alfred Reidl said they will have to get over their loss to the War Elephants and get ready to face the Azkals, whom they recognize as a strong team.
“The Philippines never beat Indonesia and now they are the host and must have received great support from the supporters,” he said.
One of the players to watch out for in the Merah Putih roster is goalie Kurnia Meiga, who could make things difficult even though he conceded four goals in their game with the Thais.
There’s also right-back Wahyudi, whose cross pass led to Indonesia’s equalizing shot.
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