Philippine Azkals to slug it out to the end

By Josef T. Ramos

The Philippine ‘Azkals’ will go-for-broke when they face the formidable Al Azraqs of Kuwait tonight in the second leg, round 2 of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila. Game starts at 7 p.m.

The Azkals need to accomplish a near impossible mission of winning 4-0 against the Kuwaitis if the team is to enter the third round of the World Cup qualifying games. Despite the gargantuan task at hand, German coach Hans Michael Weiss said his wards remain in high spirit and promised local football fans they would give their best to the very end.

“It’s going to be another tough night but I’m pretty sure the players have learned their lesson well,” said Weiss, who would likely rely on the skills of midfielder Emil Caligdong, brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Angel Guirado and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to fend off the onslaught of the Kuwaitis.

Weiss was also happy to see the return of skipper Aly Borromeo and Stephen Schrock, who both missed the Kuwait leg due to a one-game suspension imposed upon them.

‘Azkals’ team manager Dan Palami for his part is optimistic that the result of the Manila match would be better than the previous 0-3 loss of the Philippines to Kuwait.

“We have a stronger line up and I think we can compete with them in the midfield and in defense. We will stick to the game plan. We had a good first half against Kuwait even though we played defensive,” said Palami, adding, “I think it will be a better match for us.” Published in The Manila Times