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PH in Group of Death

The Philippine Azkals face a big obstacle in their bid to capture the country’s first AFF Suzuki Cup title after being placed in the “Group of Death” during a draw held Tuesday night in Yangon, Myanmar.

While they earned the right to host one of the two group stages of Southeast Asia’s premier football competition, the Azkals will have to go through defending champion Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia in the competition that begins on Nov. 19 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Interestingly, the Azkals are facing the three teams that knocked them out in their three previous semifinal appearances.

Thailand poses as the national booters’ biggest opponent as it remains the favorites to retain the title under coach Kiatisuk Senamuang, while Singapore, the winner of the 2012 edition, remains a dangerous foe despite failing to make the semis in 2014.

“Wow! AZKALS have just been drawn in the group with countries who eliminated us in the semis for the past 3 editions of Suzuki Cup! GAME ON!,” tweeted Azkals team manager Dan Palami after the draw. (Jonas Terrado)