Philippines tries to tighten grip on top spot in AFC Cup qualifying group as Azkals battle Tajikistan

THE Philippine Azkals try to squeeze out something from a drubbing at the hands of China in a friendly last week and turn it into something positive as they head into an important match.

The Azkals play in Dushanbe with redemption on their mind as they take on Tajikistan in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).

[See Balot Doctora, Javier Patino, Ace Villanueva called up as Azkals injury woes mount]

Not only does this game matter now for their chances of qualifying for the Asian Cup, it also gives them a chance to redeem themselves following the embarrassing loss to China.

Though it was just a friendly, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Philippines as they looked notches below the Chinese, especially in the second half.

[See Philippine Azkals suffer deflating seven-goal beating at hands of China in friendly]

The Philippines sit atop of the group after a 4-1 rout of Nepal in March at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Tajikistan on the other hand fell victims to Yemen in their first outing, 2-1, which means a win here for the Azkals would create an early separation from the rest of the group.

The top two teams after the group stages will be qualifying to the Asian Cup, a tournament that the country has never qualified in.


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