Latest Stories

Azkals try to seize the moment

Battle Singapore in Lions’ den today for spot in Suzuki Cup finals


SINGAPORE’S Baihakki Khaizan deprives Angel Guirado (left) of a long pass in Saturday’s first leg of the Suzuki Cup semifinal series at Rizal Memorial Stadium. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

SINGAPORE—Unfazed by the thought of playing in enemy territory in its most important match in tournament history, the Philippines aims for a maiden championship appearance against three-time winner Singapore in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals Wednesday at Jalan Besar Stadium here.

The two sides battled to a scoreless draw in Manila last Saturday, which means a goal by the Azkals here could pile up the pressure on the Lions, who are heavily favored to advance considering their wealth of experience.

The Azkals’ chances haven’t been better, though. Two years ago, in a similar stage, they were down 0-1 on aggregate to an Indonesian side backed by about 70,000 supporters in Jakarta heading into the second leg.

This time, the Azkals will have to deal with an 8,000-strong crowd, playing in a faster artificial pitch, and a squad with a winning tradition.

A scoring draw would be enough but experienced defender Rob Gier thinks it would be foolish for the Azkals to take that mindset.

“We don’t want it to end tomorrow night (Wednesday night),” said Gier, referring to their Suzuki Cup journey.

The Lions have the dual task of scoring and preventing the Azkals from doing the same. If the match stays goalless after regulation, extra time will be needed with a penalty shootout as the ultimate decider if no team finds the back of the net.

“We’ve always been saying that this is what we’ll all be waiting for,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “We don’t want to settle for just another semifinal appearance.”

“This is the best chance we will ever have,” said striker Phil Younghusband. “The good thing about our team is that whether we are home or away, we still feel we can win the game.”

The Azkals took time to settle on the ball in the first leg in Manila, where the Lions dominated the opening 45 minutes. With their midfielders finding their rhythm, the Azkals showed some attacking bite in the second half.

“One of the plus things about the last game is that we know we could still play better,” said Younghusband.

One thing constant for the Azkals in the tournament has been their solidity on the defensive end with Gier and Juani Guirado manning the fort.

Jerry Lucena returns to the side since the 1-0 win over Vietnam in the group stage in Bangkok and Azkals coach Michael Weiss sees the Fil-Danish standout as a stabilizing factor in the middle.

Weiss said the Azkals must produce the same kind of fighting spirit they showed in the second half of the first leg to stand a chance against the Lions.

“Singapore will have a small advantage because of their experience, but the boys are hungry and eager to show what they can do,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: AFF Suzuki Cup , Football , Philippine Azkals

  • oh_noh

    0-1! :( *talo*

  • CmdrAdobo

    If you guys in Singapore and failed to get tcikets, you can watch them in HD or SD in Mediacorp  channels, starting at 7:55 PM.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E422KEFIWEQBOVJ54ALRSBJB24 JACK

    make us proud!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KF2TCBJ2AUC7VIPR3TACWUGITE Rednaxela VD

    Lets go Azkals! Hope the Pinoys in SG will show up to support the team!

    • CmdrAdobo

      there’s no question about that. all tickets sold out. too bad FA of singapore just limit the tix to away fan. it means we are lesser this time compare to Meralco sparks and 2 friendly games previously.

      • H K

        Unfotunately for us, the host country have the rights to limit the sale of tickets to visiting fans – thats how it has been for years. Unfortunately for small countries, ie singapore, brunie, bahrain etc…. We still have more OFWs than your own people.

      • CmdrAdobo

        Understood. No issue here.

    • 1voxPopuli

      priority was given to locals (singaporeans) – though i cant blame them

      only 400 seats was allocated to azkals and it was a frenzy. tickets was sold-out in minutes!

      thats how excited we are. anyway the game will be aired live on TV!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/WWEUHLDOPL3PWIXV5LLLQUFHFY Atty

      Go Azkals! 

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace