Younghusband relishes China friendly | Inquirer Sports

Younghusband relishes China friendly

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 12:00 AM June 07, 2017

Philippines skipper Phil Younghusband is relishing the experience of facing a formidable side in China on Wednesday night in Guangzhou as the Azkals brace for another grueling trip to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Ranked 44 notches higher than the Azkals in the Fifa rankings at No. 82, the Chinese will host the Filipinos in the 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the 58,500-seater Tianhe Stadium, which is the home of Chinese Super League powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande.

“It should be an interesting match as China is a strong team that is always in the Asian Cup,” Younghusband said. “It’s a tough test, but the more important game will be against Tajikistan on June 13.”


Filipino-Spanish striker Javier Patino, who plays club football for Henan Jianye in the CSL, is unlikely to feature in the friendly due to an injury, but will be available for selection against Tajikistan in Dushanbe.


Awaiting a big-money move to Cardiff City in the English Championship, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is skipping both matches, which means Patrick Deyto of Global Cebu will start for the Azkals, who are on top of Group H in Asian Cup qualifying after a 4-1 win over Nepal last March.

The clash against China will give the Azkals a chance to end a 98-year winless spell against the Asian powerhouse.

The last time the Philippines beat China was on May 14, 1919 in the Far East Games in Manila, where the Filipinos prevailed, 2-1. China bounced back with a 2-1 win the next day to wrest the gold medal and has not lost to the Philippines since.

The Philippines has lost the last 12 games to the Chinese, the last coming in Asian Cup Qualifying in 2000 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, where the Filipinos suffered a 0-8 rout.

Azkals coach Thomas Dooley also has a battle in his hands on the sidelines as he will be matched with Italian World Cup winner Marcelo Lippi, who is calling the shots for the Chinese.

“It’s always good to prove yourself against a better team, against better players,” said Younghusband. “We will try to win the game, but we might try some new things.”


Guangzhou Evergrande striker Gao Lin will be among the players to watch for the Chinese side, having scored 18 goals from 91 appearances so far.

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TAGS: AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, Azkals, Phil Younghusband

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