(Philippine Sports Stadium)
4:30 p.m. – Thailand vs Singapore
8 p.m. – Philippines vs Indonesia
The Philippine Azkals are eager to make amends for the disappointing result against Singapore when they take on dangerous Indonesia tonight in their crucial AFF Suzuki Cup match at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Held to a scoreless draw by 10-man Singapore in the group stage opener over the weekend, the Azkals need to secure the maximum three points in the 8 p.m. contest with the Indonesians in order to boost their chances of making the semifinals for fourth straight time.
While a draw or worse a defeat won’t eliminate them from contention, the Filipino booters know either result will make it difficult for them to achieve that feat, especially with tournament favorite Thailand as their final Group A opponent on Friday.
Azkals midfielder Stephan Schrock described the situation for tonight’s game as “like a little final for us,” which coach Thomas Dooley seconded yesterday.
“Every game is like a final game for us,” Dooley said after the pre-match press conference at Novotel Cubao. “Our game against Singapore was like a final and had we won, it would give us much more confidence and much more pride to do the same thing.
“The second game against Indonesia is the same mentality, because if you lose we might still have a chance but it would be much more difficult,” he added.
Also making it tougher for Dooley and the Azkals is the danger that Indonesia possesses despite falling 4-2 to Thailand.
“They have wing players who are incredibly fast, great speed, working back and forth for 90 minutes. They have two center forwards with one playing better in the air and another who can dribble and is dangerous in the box, but we have to watch out for every player,” said Dooley.