THE Philippine Azkals under American head coach Thomas Dooley battle Group B leader Turkmenistan at 4 p.m. (Maldives time) today in a crucial match of the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup at the Male National Stadium in Maldives.
The Azkals scored a resounding 2-0 win over Laos on Thursday through the impressive goals of Simone Rota (40th minute) and Patrick Reichelt (63rd minute). The victory boosted the Azkals’ semifinals bid with one win and a draw for four points.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan absorbed a 3-1 defeat from the Afghans also on Thursday.
“We knew we had to win the game to continue our path, but it was not important to score five goals, but important to win the game,” Dooley said in a statement posted on the AFC’s official website.
“If we could score more goals that would be great, but if you think about that in the beginning about how many goals you might score, you might lose.”
Turkmenistan is expected to give the Azkals a hard fight after routing Afghanistan.
The Azkals are expected to rely heavily on brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Rob Gier, Reichelt, Rota, Stephan Schrock, goalkeeper Roland Mueller, Jerry Lucena and Amani Aguinaldo, among others.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge who’s nursing a thigh injury and veteran defender Juani Guirado with an injured knee are likely to miss more games.