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    Missing two key players and lacking match practice, Azkals begin Asian Cup bid vs Nepal

    Mar 27, 2017
    The Philippine Azkals offense led by Javier Patino try to get going after failing to fire a week ago. Jaime Campos 

    THE Philippine Azkals hope to find some offensive rhythm in time for its opening match in the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifier, against Nepal on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

    The Azkals just had roughly two weeks to prepare for the home fixture owing to different commitments of the players abroad, and the scoring issues were apparent in the goalless draw with Malaysia last week.

    "I watched the tapes and I collected some little issues I wanted to present to the players. We didn't have a lot of time to correct things, obviously, but the issue is we need to score goals," said Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley.

    "The last third of the field is something that we have to work on, we're just limited for that. The players have to understand the situation," he added.

    The Philippines once again fields a strong lineup led by Javier Patino, but will be without forward Misagh Bahadoran and midfielder Kevin Ingreso.

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    Bahadoran injured his knee in their friendly last week while Ingreso pulled his hamstring during training on Sunday.

    "One can score, the other one could fill in the midfield. Ingreso is doing an excellent job at the midfield, that's how midfielders should play. Works hard defensively. Creative. Dangerous. That's what he's doing. We have to find something that can cover that," added Dooley.

    The American coach says the rest of the team should make up for the duo's absence as they aim to put the ball in the back of the net this time and hopefully get all three points.

    "We have to score goals. We just have to put the forwards where they have the opportunity to do their jobs because everybody has a job to do."

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    The Philippine Azkals offense led by Javier Patino try to get going after failing to fire a week ago. Jaime Campos 
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