Azkals face Singapore in preparation for Suzuki Cup
CEBU CITY, Philippines -- All eyes are now on the Queen City of the South as the Philippine men's football national team faces Singapore in their final leg of preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup on Thursday, November 15.
This will be the first time that Cebu will be hosting an international match. Tickets are reportedly sold out for the game.
The two sides met last September which ended in a 2-0 victory for the Azkals courtesy of goals coming from captain Chieffy Caligdong and talismanic striker Phil Younghusband.
This time around however, the Azkals squad that will suit up for the friendly will be missing several names in goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, midfielder Stephan Schrock and defenders Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena.
However head coach Michael Weiss will still field a decent side with defenders Rob Gier, Juani Guirado, Jason Sabio and Cebu-born Ray Jonsson back in the lineup for the Azkals.
The team will have to take advantage of their experienced back line with Guirado and Gier, as the offense may struggle with the absence of Schrock. Phil Younghusband will be the go-to forward as always, although he may suffer from fatigue after having traveled from Cebu to Manila and back to play for his club team in the UFL Cup semifinals.
Goalkeeper Ed Sacapano is the impact player of the match, and must be able to replicate his Peace Cup success wherein he was the best goalie of the tournament boasting two clean sheets.
For Singapore, they received a huge boost as influential leader Aleksandar Duric makes his return to the Lions squad.
Last year, Duric scored against Etheridge in their friendly at the Jalan Besar Stadium, which Singapore won 2-0. He again showed off his talent against a Phil and James Younghusband-led Loyola Meralco Sparks in the Singapore Cup last October.
The Lions are still trying to find their form after several losses against the Philippines, but may have the inspiration it needs in the all-reliable Duric.
Following this friendly, both the Philippines and Singapore will be vying for their places in the AFF Suzuki Cup where they are grouped separately.
The Philippines is grouped with Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar while Singapore is grouped with defending champions Malaysia, Indonesia and Laos.
The game starts at 7pm. - Rappler.com