• Azkals to face Uzbeks anew


    The Philippine National Football Team will resume its campaign in the joint 2018 FIFA Word Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers as they face Uzbekistan at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent on Thursday.

    The Azkals, who are currently No.3 in Group H with two wins, a draw and three losses, will be battling the No. 2 seed Uzbekistan with a depleted line-up.

    Team captain and top scorer Phil Younghusband, Stephan Schrock, Kevin Ingresso, and Stephan Palla, who have all been called up for the international match, will be sitting out the game because of injuries.

    Misagh Bahadoran and Manny Ott are also out of the game after receiving two yellow cards during their previous outings. A two-yellow card is equivalent to a one-game suspension.

    Azkals mainstays Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and ex-skipper Rob Gier all have announced their retirement as national team members prior to the contest.

    Young players Jorrel Aristorenas, Ashley Flores, Dominic Del Rosario and OJ Clarino have all been tapped to augment the shorthanded Philippines team.

    Also seeing action in Tashkent are Amani Aguinaldo, Kenshiro Daniels, Patrick Deyto, Juani Guirado, OJ Porteria, Patrick Reichelt, Simone Rota, Daisuke Sato, Martin Steuble, Tomas Trigo and Dennis Villanueva.

    Members of the team based abroad Iain Ramsay, Neil Etheridge, Javier Patino and Luke Woodland will complete the 19-man contingent.

    The Uzbeks bested the Filipinos, 1-5, at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan in September.

    Schrock scored the only goal for the Filipinos while Sardor Rashidov, Igor Sergeev each scored two goals and Odil Ahmedov added another for the Uzbeks.

    The Philippines is on a two-game losing skid after absorbing defeats from Bahrain and Yemen while powerhouse Uzbekistan is coming off a three-game winning streak.

    After their bout against the White Wolves, the Azkals are slated to fly to Manila to meet the North Koreans at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on March 29.

    The Azkals won their first two matches, first against the Bahrainis, 2-1, and the Yemenis, 2-0, before losing to the Uzbeks.

    The Philippines scored a point against North Korea in a match held in Pyongyang before losing to Bahrain and Yemen in their second meetings.


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