Bent on securing a seat to the main tournament, the men’s national football team tangles with Yemen anew in the third round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers today at the Saoud bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar.
The Filipinos and the Yemenis meet head-on at 6 p.m. (11 p.m. in Manila).
The Philippine Azkals is currently leading the pack in Group F with seven points built on an unbeaten slate of two wins and a draw.
Running close behind is Yemen with five points off a lone victory and two draws.
Also vying for the two slots are Tajikistan, which is on the third spot with three points on a 1-0-2 win-draw-loss record, and Nepal, which is languishing at the bottom with a lone marker on a 0-1-2 card.
In their first encounter last September 5, the Philippines and Yemen battled to a 2-2 draw at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
National team stalwarts Phil and James Younghusband salvaged a stalemate in front of the 2,911 home fans, negating the goals of Mudir Al-Radaei and Abdulwasea Al-Matari.
Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley has to deal with the absence of another key player in veteran midfielder Manny Ott.
The Filipino-German suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury on his right knee during a training session last Thursday.
Prior to Ott’s mishap, Misagh Bahadoran, Javier Patiño Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland were not added to the lineup due to various injuries.