LONG TENG CUP: Azkals tackle host Taiwanese Sunday night | Inquirer Sports

LONG TENG CUP: Azkals tackle host Taiwanese Sunday night

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 10:34 PM October 01, 2011

CAPTAIN. Azkals' co-captian Chieffy Caligdong will lead the team anew in the Long Teng Cup after nearly completing a hat trick Friday.

KAOHSIUNG—Their goal breached three times Friday, the Philippine Azkals try to address their defensive lapses Sunday night when they tangle with host Chinese Taipei in the Long Teng Cup at the National Stadium here.

Struggling with new combinations, the Azkals settled for a 3-3 draw against defending champion Hong Kong Friday night after erasing a two-goal deficit to seize a 3-2 lead until the 86th minute when the defending champions equalized.

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Azkals skipper Aly Borromeo, who played alongside newcomer Oliver Poetschke at central defense, stressed the need for an improved defensive effort from the squad.

“Our defending (against Hong Kong) was all over the place,” said Borromeo.

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“But at least there’s familiarity now. We know how we will play together. We can’t let Chinese Taipei get that confidence unlike against Hong Kong.”

Leaving so many gaps at the back and with a passing game that left much to be desired, the Azkals were pinned to the ropes early as Hong Kong struck with two early goals.

Two clinical goals by Chieffy Caligdong after the ice-breaker from the penalty spot by Phil Younghusband in the 31st minute put the Azkals in prime position to pull off the win against a team ranked 10 places higher than them.

Caligdong, despite limping off in the 78th minute after feeling pain on his right knee, said he’ll be ready against the Taiwanese.

“I just needed to rest. As long as I can bear the pain, I’ll always be ready to give my all for the country,” said the 28-year-old Air Force winger.

With only a point to show because of the draw, the Azkals are left with no recourse but to grab maximum points against the hosts, who blanked Macau, 3-0, in their first match Friday night.

“We will be in a very good position to win the tournament if we win tomorrow,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss.

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The German coach hinted at playing a more conservative style against the Taiwanese side, which he said plays a fluid attack.

“We will sit a little a bit deeper (on defense) and will be looking for counter-attacks,” Weiss said. “I hope everybody steps up, especially in terms of alertness and concentration.”

Team manager Dan Palami said settling down defensively early on will be key for the Azkals.

“Even with the unfamiliarity of the players, playing compact 4-4-2 will allow us to be more confident because everybody knows that basic defensive structure,” said Palami.

Changes are expected in the starting roster for the Azkals with Jason de Jong sitting out the match after getting sent off in injury time against Hong Kong.

Goalkeeper Roland Muller, who made a string of fine saves against Hong Kong, is expected to keep his spot in the starting XI just like Caligdong, Borromeo, Phil and James Younghusband, Carli de Murga and Angel Guirado.

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TAGS: Aly Borromeo, Azkals, Chieffy Caligdong, Dan Palami, Football, Hong Kong, Long Teng Cup, Macau, Oliver Poetschke, Philippines, Soccer, Sports, Taiwan
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