Different format, same goal for Azkals in PFF Peace Cup
Coach Thomas Dooley and the Azkals will have to make do with two matches instead of three. Jerome Ascano

THE format changed, but the goal remains the same for the Philippines men’s football team in the Philippine Football Federation Peace Cup that gets going on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Azkals rued the sudden move to revise the format owing to a Fifa regulation limiting national teams to have just two matches per international window.

That has reduced each participating team's number of matches from three to two in the annual local pocket competition.

But Azkals coach Thomas Dooley is taking the development in stride, having to make do with the two matches as part of the Filipino booters’ preparations for the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in November.

“It’s not the best to have one less game, but we have to deal with it,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said on Tuesday in the pre-tournament press conference at the Manila Hotel.

The development also forced the PFF to make the competition a knockout setup, leaving the defending champion Azkals in a must-win situation in their opener against Chinese Taipei at 7 p.m. to advance to the finale on Saturday.

But nothing has changed in terms of objective.

“We go to every game wanting to win it. Even if the format changed, it didn’t change our attitude toward the game,” veteran center-back Rob Gier, who will wear the captain’s armband, said.

Palestine, the tournament’s top-ranked squad, takes on Myanmar in the curtain-raiser at 4 o’clock.

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