Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Azkals to seek early edge vs Sri Lanka

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 0 comments


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals will seek to gain an early advantage over the Sri Lankan Brave Reds when they clash in Round 1-1st Leg of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Wednesday.
The Azkals, who spent 2 weeks training in Germany, plan to beat the Brave Reds with improved offense and better team cohesion.

Filipino-Dutch Azkals Paul Mulders said he hopes the hard training they did in Germany will help them win against Sri Lanka.

“I think the guys did a good job [in training],” he said.

Team captain Aly Borromeo said the camp helped foster better communication between teammates. He added that it also forged cohesiveness with new entrants to the team.

“This is not just in preparation for Sri Lanka, it’s also in preparation for Kuwait which will be a bigger game for us,” said Borromeo.

Better team
Filipino-British footballer Phil Younghusband said the Philippine Azkals is the better team and therefore owns an advantage over the Sri Lankans.

“With the team we have, we have a good chance of winning the game,” said the Azkals striker.

He, however, admitted they cannot afford to underestimate the Brave Reds.

“We can't be complacent, we can't be too overconfident,” said Younghusband.

Azkals player Rob Gier said the Nationals will be spurred by the chance to represent the country in the international stage.

When we come out here and play for the national team, we love it,” he said.

Attack, attack, attack
Sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz said he expects the Azkals to test the Brave Red’s defense with constant attack.

“Unang una, they’ll attack early in the game to try to put Sri Lanka in the defensive. Score a goal and hope for the best,” he said.

The Azkals, who carry a higher FIFA ranking (156) than the Brave Reds (169), will need to secure early points in the away game to ensure an easier home game.

The away game (1st leg) will take place at the 25,000-seater Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The home game (2nd leg) is scheduled 4 days later at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss said his main concern about the Nationals is the need to quickly switch from offense to defense.

“Our biggest problem is the fast switch from offense to defense. We are not getting back on the position where we are supposed to stand.  Defensively, not yet perfect,” he said.

Confident Sri Lankans
The Brave Reds, meanwhile, are confident that they can beat the higher rated Azkals.

Team captain Rohana Ruwanthilake said they are determined to give their fellow Sri Lankans a good show by defeating the Philippine team.

“Hope we have a good game. Definitely we can beat the Philippines, we're in our country, here we'll play so we can beat the Philippines,” he said.

The last time the 2 countries met was during a FIFA World Cup qualifier 15 years ago.

Palami told that the Philippines lost to Sri Lanka 0-3 in 1996 when they fought in Doha, Qatar.
“It’s payback time now. We want to show them that the Philippine team 2011 is not the same as the Philippine team 1996 that they beat,” he said. -- With reports from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News; Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau; and the Philippine Star

ABS-CBN Sports, the official coveror of Azkals' international matches, will air the much-awaited opening showdown on Studio 23 at 5:30pm on Wednesday, pre-empting "Justice League" and "The Wrap." will also give live updates of the game through the
Philippine Azkals microsite.


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