PH Azkals seek payback vs Indonesians Tuesday
HANOI—No team in the AFF Suzuki Cup has dealt the Philippines so much heartbreak other than Indonesia.
The Azkals, buoyed by a strong showing in their opening match, hope to change that on Tuesday when they gun for a semifinal berth against the Indonesians at 5 p.m. (PH time) at My Dinh Stadium here.
Although the gap in quality has narrowed the past few years, there’s little doubt of the Indonesians’ dominance of the Filipinos in this competition.
Indonesia beat the Philippines twice via 1-0 scorelines in the two-leg semifinals in 2010, when the Azkals made their first appearance in the competition’s knockout stage. Back in 2002, Indonesia crushed the Philippines, 13-1, in Jakarta in what is still the most one-sided scoreline in the tournament’s history.
Indonesia managed a 2-2 draw with Vietnam in their opening-day match.
Notwithstanding the Azkals’ history with the Indonesians, striker Phil Younghusband said the focus is to qualify for the semifinals.
“There’s only one thing on our mind which is to qualify and probably, after the game, we could talk about the history we have with them,” said Younghusband, who scored and set up two goals in the 4-1 rout of Laos last Saturday.
The clash with the Indonesians carries a lot of significance as a final-day meeting with vaunted Vietnam looms.
“We have to do everything we can to win the game,” said Azkals coach Thomas Dooley. “It will be a good thing to take the pressure away from the players before the match against Vietnam.”
Alfred Reidl, Indonesia’s Austrian coach, said getting a victory against the Azkals is easier said than done.
“It was difficult in 2010 and we expect the same,” said Reidl.
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