Azkals brace for crucial match vs Indonesia

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The Philippine National Football Team manager Dan Palami explained that finishing is the main concern of the squad when it battles Indonesia on Tuesday in the 2016 Suzuki Cup at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.

The Azkals failed to capitalize on their home field advantage after settling for a dismal draw against Singapore in the opening day of the group stage on Saturday.

After the result, the Philippines now face a tough task of overcoming the Indonesians to keep its dream of qualifying to the knockout phase alive.

“Finishing was our biggest problem [in the game against Singapore. We were able to make our chances but were not able to convert,” Palami said in an interview after their initial outing.


The Philippine Azkals (in white) and the Singapore Lions scrambling for the ball during the opening day of the 2016 Suzuki Cup at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan. DANTE DENNIS DIOSINA JR.

The Philippine Azkals (in white) and the Singapore Lions scrambling for the ball during the opening day of the 2016 Suzuki Cup at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan. DANTE DENNIS DIOSINA JR.

“We did not convert our chances in the game. We had three good chances and we did not convert it. That was the breaks of our game. We should have been maybe more patient and not too much in a hurry to score a goal,” he added.

He stressed that there is a lot of work that needs to be done prior to their next game and reiterated that ball movement is another area of concern for their side.

“I think we also need to move the ball a bit quicker. There was a time during the game that our midfielders were moving a bit too tentative,” he mentioned.

Palami also noted that the draw placed the Azkals on a tougher position on achieving their goal of snatching a seat to the knockout phase of the competition.

“We have a lot of things to work on for our next game. The road has gotten tougher but it is still doable, we have to do what we have to do,” he stated.

The Azkals controlled the tempo of the game but were unable to break the eerie scoreless deadlock until the end of their of their contest.

Filipino-German Stephan Schrock knocked on the door of Singapore thrice with attempts from free kicks while international debutant Hikaru Minegeshi threatened with shots of his own but just could not convert.

It was a busy night for the Azkals defense as veteran booter Khairul Amri led his side with a handful of counter attacks but center back Amani Aguinaldo and goalkeeper Roland Muller stood firm in swatting away their chances.

Palami declared that they should be careful in their match against Indonesia considering the latter’s impressive showing it their 2-4 loss against defending champion Thailand.

“Indonesia is a very good team. They got Thailand into trouble. We need to see how we can defend against their quick players. We’ll review the game that they had.”

Palami held that he would be tasking the coaching staff to intensify their training as preparation for their next game against the tough Indonesians.

“Now we have to rest and study their game. We will ask the coaching staff to prepare the players well for our game against Indonesia,” he concluded.

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