Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Philippine Azkals to attack from get-go

Posted by chardyboy on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 0 comments

COLOMBO—The Philippine football team will be on attack mode right from the start when it faces Sri Lanka in the first leg of its opening round World Cup Qualifying clash here tomorrow.
Unlike other teams playing away from home that tend to play defensively, the Azkals will look to score early in its first World Cup Qualifying match in 10 years.
“We will put pressure on them (Sri Lankans) early,” team manager Dan Palami told the Inquirer upon arriving in the populous Sri Lankan capital Monday.
“Winning by two goals will be most ideal for us.”
Palami said a comfortable win here would mean less pressure on the Azkals in the second leg this Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“If we could finish the series here by winning the game in their homecourt, there will be less pressure on us when we play in Manila,” he said.

Azkals’ strong offensive game
Palami’s confidence stems from the strong offensive game shown by the Azkals in their recent camp in Germany.
The attacking flair was spurred by the inclusion of Stephan Schrock in the lineup and the solid forward combination of Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado.
But there are still chinks on the Azkals’ defensive armor as shown in their lopsided losses to German sides Ingolstadt and Darmstadt.
“The training camp experience will count most on this away game,” said Palami, who has bankrolled the Azkals’ campaign the past two years.
In temperatures similar to Manila’s, the Azkals had a light training session for the first time here, a day after arriving in a country which is known more for its prowess in the sport of cricket rather than football.
Jonsson playing first leg
The team was also boosted by the news of leftback Ray Jonsson’s availability for the first leg that will be played at the Sugathadasa Stadium, which could accommodate up to 25,000 spectators.
The Philippines actually has a score to settle against the Sri Lankans, who defeated the national squad, 3-0, in a World Cup Qualifying match in 1995 in Qatar.
A victory by the Azkals will not only avenge that loss, but will also fulfill the team’s goal of making history by advancing past the first round of qualifying for the first time.
The Azkals are hoping to sustain a  streak that started in last year’s Suzuki Cup, which they followed up by advancing to the main tournament of the AFC Challenge Cup.
“I’m glad that in all the tournaments we have joined so far, we have actually achieved the results we wanted and even exceeded them,” said Palami.
“I hope this is one more tournament where our expectations are at least realized. And if we exceeded it by going past the second round, then there’s not much more that I could ask for.”


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