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    Philippine Azkals look to stay on track for Asian Cup as they host Yemen in Bacolod

    Sep 5, 2017
    Neil Etheridge returns to try and help the Azkals move a step closer to the continental tournament. Jaime Campos

    THE Philippine Men's National Football team continues its bid for a spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup when it hosts Yemen on Tuesday at Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

    The Azkals are on top of their group after running through Nepal, 4-1, in March at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium before escaping Tajikistan, 4-3, in Dushanbe in June.

    If the Philippines holds on to a top two spot after the home and away group stages, the country will be making its first appearance in the Asian Cup.

    The continental championships will be held in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

    "I don’t care if we win, 4-0 or 1-0, just as long as we win because these games are the best way to go to the Asian Cup," said Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley.

    "We can do that if we're a team and everyone sees the reality that it is going to be a difficult task ahead of us,"

    The Azkals will be playing minus Javier Patino, who scored two goals against Tajikistan, and starting centerback Amani Aguinaldo due to injuries.

    They'll also be without another defender in Daisuke Sato, suspended due to accumulation of cards.

    The good news for the Azkals is the return of Neil Etheridge, who is having a good stint with Cardiff City in the English Second Division.

    Yemen, also vying for its first appearance in the Asian Cup, has four points after drawing Nepal and dropping Tajikistan, 2-1.

    "We are trying to keep this position we will be doing our best to make history for Yemen," said Yemen head coach Mebrato Gebreselassie.

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    "It would be a very big victory for our country. It will be the first participation for Yemen in the Asian Cup."

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    Neil Etheridge returns to try and help the Azkals move a step closer to the continental tournament. Jaime Campos
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