Injured Juani Guirado confident Azkals backline will hold strong as they go deep in AFF Suzuki Cup
Juani Guirado is out for possibly the remainder of the AFF Cup with a hamstring injury but he believes the rest of the Azkals defense will do fine. Jerome Ascano

HANOI — Juani Guirado is confident the backline of the Philippine men’s football team will remain as sturdy as ever even in his absence potentially for the rest of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup.

The Filipino-Spanish center-back, who is expected to be out for at least two weeks after hurting his right hamstring in the Azkals’ 4-0 win over Indonesia, noted that the team's defense has conceded only one goal in two matches.

[See Big blow to Azkals as Juani Guirado injury could sideline him for remainder of AFF Suzuki Cup]

“We have the best defenders,” he said, referring to Amani Aguinaldo and Rob Gier, who came in for Guirado 14 minutes into the match.

“We have Amani, we have Rob, so we have a lot of good players. But I’ll try to come back and fight for the team.”

Guirado was left frustrated after coming off the match despite not nursing any injury for a while.

“I don’t know what happened. I felt good and took care of myself. But I tried to sprint and I just felt pain in my hamstring and I couldn’t run.”

[See Azkals book ticket to Suzuki Cup semis with stunning shutout of Indonesia]

Alvaro Silva, another Filipino-Spaniard who were registered for the tournament, could also be a replacement once he gets his Philippine passport.

“I don’t if Alvaro is ready, but Rob is ready always, works hard, and he showed he can also score, so I’m happy for him,” Guirado said.

Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said starting right-back Simone Rota can also move to central defense then decide who to fill his place.

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