Azkals beef up lineup vs Tajikistan

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The Philippine Azkals updated its roster on Friday for its Asia Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers match against Tajikistan.

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After its 1-8 downfall to China PR in a friendly on Wednesday, the men’s national football team will troop to the Central Republican Stadium in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on June 13 with a minor tweak in its lineup.

With Jeffrey Christiaens of Ceres Negros FC and Pika Minegishi of Global Cebu FC both nursing injuries they sustained in the tune-up game at the Tianhe Stadium, head coach Thomas Dooley tapped the services of Stallion Laguna FC forward Ruben Doctora Jr.

Mainstays in the updated 21-man squad were goalkeepers Patrick Deyto and Nicholas O’Donnell of Global, and Ace Villanueva of FC Meralco Manila, and defenders Junior Muñoz and Luke Woodland of Ceres, Amani Aguinaldo of Global, Camelo Tacusalme of JPV Marikina FC and Daisuke Sato of Politechnica Iasi from Romania.

Also previously called up were midfielders Manuel Ott, Kevin Ingreso and Iain Ramsay of Ceres, Misagh Bahadoran and Dennis Villanueva of Global, James Younghusband of Meralco, Fitch Arboleda of Stallion, Kenshiro Daniels of Kaya FC-Makati, Dominic del Rosario of Ilocos United FC and Mike Ott of Angthong United from Thailand.

Tabbed to lead the offensive were skipper Phil Younghusband (Meralco), Doctora (Stallion) and Javier Patiño (Henan Jianye FC from China).

Kick off is at 9 p.m. (12 a.m. in Manila) with the Azkals gunning for their second win in Group F of the quadrennial meet’s qualifying phase.

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