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Azkals tie Oman XI

The Philippine Azkals settled for a 1-all draw with Oman in Doha, Qatar late Saturday as they continue to buildup for next month’s AFF Suzuki Cup and their historic appearance in the Asian Cup slated January.

Raed Saleh’s opener for Oman nine minutes after the opening whistle was cancelled by an own goal by Khalid Khalifa Al Hajri off an Azkals free kick in the 39th that highlighted the first friendly of the two nations since 2001.

Thai-based goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard’s save late in added time preserved the tie that may serve as an added boost for the Azkals’ preparation for the Suzuki Cup and Asian Cup.

Under new coach Scott Cooper, the Azkals launch their Suzuki Cup campaign on Nov. 13 against Singapore at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City before heading to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a Nov. 17 meeting with Timor-Leste.

The Philippines returns to the City of Smiles on Nov. 21 to host two-time defending champion Thailand before wrapping up the group stage opposite Indonesia at the cavernous Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Nov. 25.

Otherwise known as the ASEAN Football Federation Championship, the Suzuki Cup will be Cooper’s first major competition since formally taking over in September.

Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge and brothers Phil and James Younghusband were part of the Doha sojourn where the Azkals also held a training camp.

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