Struggling Azkals seek morale-boosting win against Kyrgyzstan in last friendly before Suzuki Cup
Hirakun Minegishi and the Azkals hope to make the most of their final training match before the Asean tournament. Jerome Ascano

THE Philippine men’s football team seeks to make third time the charm indeed as it takes on Kyrgyzstan in a friendly on Wednesday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Coming off two losses against North Korea and Bahrain, respectively, the Azkals hope to nail a morale-boosting win in their third friendly since last month and last before the start of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup on November 19.

“Our focus is in the Suzuki Cup. We don’t want to have the same mistakes against Bahrain,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said on the eve of the friendly that kicks off at 8 p.m.

The Filipino booters step up their buildup with the friendly against higher-ranked Kyrgyzstanis, whom they’ve stunned, 2-1, on the road in Bishkek last September.

Filipino-Japenese midfielder Hikaru Minegishi, the newly minted United Football League Golden Ball recipient from champion Global FC, boosts the Azkals, still led by skipper Phil Younghusband, Stephan Schrock, and Iain Ramsay.

Misagh Bahadoran, still nursing an injury, and Kevin Ingreso scored the goals in the win versus Kyrgyzstan, which is ranked 25 spots higher than 124th-ranked Philippines. 

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