THE Philippine Azkals seek to add more bite to their attack as they continue their Asean Foootball Federation Suzuki Cup campaign against Indonesia on Tuesday night at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Coming off a scoreless draw against Singapore in the opener where they failed to pounce on a 10-man visiting side, the Filipino booters are eager to make the most of their chances this time in the hope of grabbing their first win of the tournament on home soil.
After failing to fire against a Singapore side that retreated deep and parked the bus after going a man down in the 35th minute, the Azkals take on an Indonesian opponent that plays more of an open style of football, evident in their opening loss to Thailand in a six-match thriller.
“We saw that Indonesia has an incredible offense, but their defense is a little bit weak, so we’re trying to have a little strategy to play against them and we’ll see if it works out,” Philippine coach Thomas Dooley said in the pre-match press conference on Monday.
“You just have to play your style and you want to play football, obviously, and we’re trying to keep on playing like we played against the teams before the tournament,” the American coach added. “I want to use the ability of the team that we have.”
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. with the Filipinos gunning for no less than a win that will grant them much-needed points ahead of their daunting final task against defending champion Thailand on Friday.
The Philippines outclassed a young Indonesian side, 4-0, in the last meeting in the 2014 edition the Suzuki Cup group stage, but is facing a more grizzled Merah Putih side this time.
“We have to beat Indonesia and then we have to see what we can do against Thailand,” Dooley said, looking to stick with the same formation that has Manny Ott and Phil Younghusbnad pulling the strings at midfield and Mike Ott and Misagh Bahadoran up front. “The motivation is there, the players are fit and look ready.”
The match has greater repercussions for the Indonesians and coach Alfred Riedl also promises to take the fight to the home side.
“We have to win the match the same as Philippines … because we know that if we lose, we’re out,” the Austrian mentor said. “And if we want to win the match, we can’t just stay back and wait for something to happen.”
In scintillating form behind star Teerasil Dangda, who struck a hat-trick in the opener, pacesetting Thailand takes on Singapore earlier at 4:30 p.m. with a win eliminating its opponent from contention.