Azkals to face China in friendly today


To build up their skills for their campaign in the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifiers, the Philippine Azkals flew to Gungzhao on Monday to face China PR in an international friendly.

The men’s national football team takes on the Chinese side tonight at the Tianhe Stadium with the tune-up game aimed at gearing up for their all-important match against Tajikistan.

Slated June 13 at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe, the Azkals shoot for their second straight win in Group F of the UAE 2019 qualifiers’ third round.

Beny Wahyudi of Indonisia (left) battles for the ball against Phil Younghusband (center) and Hikaru De Asis Minegishi of the Philippines during the AFF Suzuki Cup at Philippines Sports Stadium in Bulacan on November 22, 2016. FILE PHOTO

Head coach Thomas Dooley called up 23 players who will play in the games against China and Tajikistan, with the majority of them coming from the Philippines Football League.

The lineup included brothers Phil and James Younghusband as well as Ace Villanueva of FC Meralco Manila, Misagh Bahadoran, Amani Aguinaldo, Pika Minegishi, Dennis Villanueva, Nicholas O’Donnel and Patrick Deyto of Global Cebu FC.

Also called up were Iain Ramsay, Manuel Ott, Jeffrey Christiaens, Kevin Ingreso, Junior Muñoz and Luke Woodland of Ceres Negros FC, Kenshiro Daniels and Antonio Ugarte of Kaya FC-Makati, Fitch Johnson Arboleda of Stallion Laguna FC, Camelo Tacusalme of JPV Marikina FC and Dominic del Rosario of Ilocos United FC.

Coming from foreign clubs are Javier Patiño of Henan Jianye FC (China), Daisuke Sato of Politechnica Iasi (Romania) and Mike Ott of Angthong United (Thailand).

Zhang Yuning, the 20-year old striker of SBV Vitesse from the Dutch topflight league, is tabbed to lead the way for the Team Dragon.

This will be the first match between the two national squads since their clash in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers 17 years ago, wherein China scored a resounding 8-0 win.


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