Azkals plunge into must-win game vs Indonesians

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Phil Younghusband (left) of the Philippines battles for the ball against Khairul Amri of Singapore during the AFF Suzuki cup 2016 at Philippines Sport Stadium in Bulacan on Saturday.   Photo by Dj Diosina

Phil Younghusband (left) of the Philippines battles for the ball against Khairul Amri of Singapore during the AFF Suzuki cup 2016 at Philippines Sport Stadium in Bulacan on Saturday. Photo by Dj Diosina

The Philippine Azkals will face Indonesia in the preliminary round of the 2016 Suzuki Cup today at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.

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The game begins at 8 p.m.

After eliciting a goalless draw from Singapore in the opening day, the Azkals now face a tough task of overcoming Indonesia to keep their bid of qualifying to the next round alive.

“The team was a little bit frustrated at first that we did not score a goal and we did not win that game but nothing has changed,” head coach Thomas Dooley said during the pregame press conference on Monday.

“Even if we have lost or won against Singapore, we still need to win against Indonesia to get a chance for the next round,” Dooley explained.

Azkals Stephan Schrock and Hikaru Minegeshi made several attempts to penetrate the Singaporeans’ defenses on Saturday but were unable to score until the final whistle.

Dooley expressed high hopes that they can slip past the Indonesians and clinch a seat in the semifinals.

“We have to beat Indonesia and we will have to see what we need to do in our game against Thailand. The motivation is there and the players are fit and ready,” he said.

Dooley plans to use the side’s midfield passing strength to their advantage and reiterated that mistakes have to be reduced.

“I want to use the abilities that we have like our good passing skills. We can be dangerous up front and good on the back. We want to focus on individual players that they don’t do individual mistakes. The fewer mistakes we do, the better it is,” he stresses.

The veteran American coach stressed that they need to develop a different approach to make it to the second group stage match.

“Obviously, we saw that Indonesia has an incredible offense and the defense is a little bit weak. We are trying to have a strategy to play against them maybe that could help,” Dooley said.

The Indonesians gave defending champions Thailand a scare in the curtain raiser of the competition after scoring twice early in the second half to level the score at 2-2 going into the 60th minute mark.

However, twin goals of Teerasil Dangda gave the Thais a 4-2 win at fulltime.

“I just hope that Indonesia plays a different game than that of Singapore. It’s difficult when you have so many bodies in the box and we did not do a good job using the wings,” Dooley concluded.

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