THE Philippines battles China on Friday night in its second match in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Following their 0-1 loss to Korea in their opening match, the Azkals are looking to get a point as they take on China in their 5:30 p.m. kick-off (9:30 p.m. Manila time).
The match will be played at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and will be shown live on FOX Sports.
The task at hand will be tough, though, as China beat the Philippines, 8-1, in a friendly in Guangzhou in 2017.
Azkals coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, however, expressed confidence that the team will show a better performance especially after the squad lost to powerhouse Korea by only a point.
“The players are very excited about the match, especially after our performance against Korea Republic,” said Eriksson in a story ran by the AFC Asian Cup official website. “This is a chance for them to prove themselves again."
"This generation of players have so much promise and I am sure that in 10 years, football will enjoy more importance in the Philippines," he added.
A sidelight in the Philippines-China match is the coaching battle between Eriksson and Marcello Lippi, China’s coach from Italy.
“I respect him and he is a good friend but tomorrow at 5.30pm (local time), our friendship will have to take a backseat for a while. I wish him well,” Eriksson said.
China got three points after beating Kyrgyz Republic, 2-1, last Monday with Yu Dabao scoring in the 78th minute. The Chinese booters got on the board after an own goal by Pavel Matiash in the 50th minute.