Philippine Azkals face Cambodia's Angkor Warriors in friendly ahead of AFF Suzuki Cup
Coach Thomas Dooley expects the Azkals to have a good workout againts Cambodia, which narrowly missed the AFF Cup. Jerome Ascano

THE Philippine men’s football team finalizes its local preparations for the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup as it takes on Cambodia in a friendly on Friday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

In a sendoff for Southeast Asia’s showpiece football event in Vietnam, the Azkals collide with the Angkor Warriors at 8 p.m. eight days before they open their campaign against Laos in Hanoi.

“It’s always important to have a home game before going to a big tournament. It gives us more confidence,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said on Thursday.

Coming off a disappointing 3-0 loss at the hands Asean power Thailand at the opponent’s turf last Sunday, the 129th-ranked Filipino booters badly need a win and hope to get that against a relatively weaker foe in the Cambodians, who are ranked 185th in the world.

The Azkals outclassed the Cambodians, 8-0, in their last meeting in March 2013, and have won three matches and drew one in their last four meetings against their Southeast Asian neighbors.

“We want to play against a team from which you could get some confidence, but nothing against Cambodia,” Dooley said. “We know they’re strong.”

Cambodia barely missed a spot in the Suzuki Cup group stage after finishing third in the qualifiers behind Myanmar and Laos last month.

“We have to play a team that gives us a good competition, but also gives us confidence to win the game,” Dooley said. “We don’t want to sound overconfident, but we want to have a good game before we leave.”

The Azkals look to take advantage of a young opponent as Cambodia’s Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon confirmed he will a field a squad that has 15 players under 23 years old.

Dooley hinted he will field a starting lineup composed of players who will also likely start in the Suzuki Cup.

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