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Suzuki Cup: Azkals poised for breakthru

Singapore duel tomorrow


Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website.

MANILA, Philippines — Coach Michael Weiss is comfortable at the thought of his Philippine Azkals soaking up the pressure and waiting for their chance against a Singapore side expected to be on attack mode right from the get-go in the second leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals tomorrow.

The counter-attacking game has suited the Azkals for much of the tournament and, although he would have loved his side to be confident in possession, Weiss sees the Azkals relying on their solidity at the backline and their ability to create scoring chances in transition.

The Azkals and Lions fought to a goalless standoff Saturday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium, with the second leg to be played at the 8,000-seater Jalan Besar Stadium, which has an artificial pitch.

A scoring draw would be enough for the Azkals to advance due to the away goals rule, and Weiss said their chances only got better with the return of midfielder Jerry Lucena for the second leg.

“We will not risk much; the pitch in Jalan Besar is pretty tight,” Weiss said before the team left for Singapore yesterday morning.

“We have to be patient because we expect to see a more active Singapore on their (home) turf, which may not be the worst thing for us. Against this defense, it will not be easy for Singapore to score even on home soil.”

One player who has stood out defensively for Weiss in the last two matches is Fil-Spanish rightback Carli de Murga, who coped well with the threat posed by Aleksandar Duric on the left wing Saturday night.

“He has been fantastic for us,” said Weiss of the 24-year-old who was only called into action when Ray Jonsson sustained a quad muscle injury in the match against Vietnam.

“The defensive approach has worked for us, but sooner or later we would have to change our style by playing more possession.”

The depth of the side remains the least of Weiss’ worries with defender Jason Sabio and midfielder Chris Greatwich, who scored the late equalizer against the Lions in their group match in Vietnam two years ago, still to play.

Striker Denis Wolf has been used sparingly because of an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, tickets to the second leg are reportedly sold out with Singapore-based Filipinos complaining of the little allotment for Azkals fans for Wednesday’s match.

The Filipinos beat the Singaporeans, 2-0, in a friendly last Sept. 7 at Jurong West Stadium.

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Tags: AFF Suzuki Cup , Football , Philippine Azkals

  • neilabarca

    2 SETBACK ang naganap sa Pinas;  bagyong PABLO – 700 casualties at si Pacquiao. Kung tatalunin ng AZKALS ang Singapore Lion mamayang gabi, malaking moral booster.  

    Magfocus lang sa Team building, confident sa ball possesion and couter attack,  PANALO ang AZKALs,    2 – 0  ang FORECAST….

    • tanga_hanga_ni_abnoy

       palaging 3 ang dating ng alon…i hope and pray that i will be proven wrong..go azkals

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/LU7NPIJZHTPETTJUFYYTTI2KHA Karel

      bukas pa ang laro at hindi mamayang gabi

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NOU2XX7C27HWPK3GIKARGIKVKU Wowie Sg

    there are news that only 300 tickets were allocated to filipinos for the singapore match. definitely the azkals will face a very hostile crowd. Good luck Azkals!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GDLJBVQKYUSWJAK6ICQITGFTUU Toni

    Azkal’s offense last Saturday was a pain to watch, especially in the first half. to describe their passing as pathetic is an understatement.
     But kudos to their defense, though… especially to the goalkeeper. He was a pillar of strength.

  • rgf_md

    We were told here last week that Filipino Azkals fans can only buy tickets Monday (yesterday) but only to know that tickets were sold out. LOL

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

    With Manny Pacquiao’s defeat, it now makes us realize that it’s time to focus on football instead.  For so long now, it’s all about basketball and boxing.

    • baluga_ang_tataba_nang_nakaupo

      boxing will not die in the philippiines thats for sure.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

        We’re not saying boxing would die.  We just need to focus on other sports like football.

      • http://twitter.com/Filo_OZi rovs

        Well said

    • Bring back Phils Glory. Unite.

      i think mga larong kalye will not die in the phils.

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