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Azkals battle Kyrgyzstan

The Philippine Azkals will be without three key players due to injuries when they take on Kyrgyzstan tonight in their only friendly match of the international window in Bishkek.

Patrick Reichelt and Simone Rota are out because of injuries while Stephan Schrock won’t be suiting up because of unknown reasons in the Azkals’ 10:30 p.m. Manila encounter with the Kyrgyz booters.

Reichelt sustained an ACL injury for Ceres-La Salle in the Singapore Cup semifinals, Rota has been dealing with a minor injury while no one has made a clear explanation over Schrock’s absence.

With the three out of action for the Azkals’ first friendly ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup, coach Thomas Dooley will rely on Misagh Bahadoran, Manny Ott, Phil Younghusband, Neil Etheridge, Daisuke Sato and Amani Aguinaldo.

The Azkals were supposed to play two friendlies in the current international window but the home match against Turkmenistan, originally scheduled last Friday, was cancelled after the visiting team was decimated with injuries.

Adding insult to injury, tonight’s match won’t be shown on television, denying fans of an opportunity to see the team’s progress with two months remaining before the country hosts Southeast Asia’s biggest football competition.

The last time the Azkals saw action was in July when they lost 2-1 to Australian club Perth Glory in Ilocos Sur.

That time, several players, particularly those from Ceres, were out for undisclosed reasons, leaving the national side with a half-baked roster.