Friday, 7 October 2011

Azkals boast of full roster vs S'poreans

Posted by chardyboy on Friday, October 07, 2011 0 comments

by Olmin Leyba |

(OCT 7) PHL-AZKALS vs. SINGAPORE | Live on Studio 23 | 6:30pm Pre-game analysis | 7:30pm KICK-OFF

The Azkals go full-strength in an international friendly tonight against host Singapore, a higher-ranked opponent whom the Filipinos’ battled to a “shocking” 1-1 draw in a star-making performance in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.

Ranked 165th in the world, the Azkals are taking advantage of the Fifa international days to bring in Europe-based pros for the 7:30 p.m. match at the Jalan Besar Stadium with No. 136 Singapore.

Neil Etheridge, Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders, Stephan Schrock, and Ray Jonsson, players unavailable in previous tournaments due to club commitments, will all be around to join regulars Aly Borromeo, Long Teng Cup Golden Boot winner Chieffy Caligdong, Phil and James Younghusband, Ian Araneta, Angel Guirado, and Jason de Jong against the Lions.

Team manager Dan Palami said the away game with Singapore – as well as the next home match with Nepal on Tuesday – will be a showcase of the true potential of the Azkals, assembling probably their best roster.

“It’s really a rare opportunity to have the guys come together and show fans what the team is really capable of,” said Palami.

Ed Sacapano, Misagh Bahadoran, Roel Gener and Nate Burkey, new recruit Lexton Moy, and Under-23 players Matt Hartmann, Raymark Fernandez, and Neckson Leonora complete the Azkals’ 21-man roster for the Singapore friendly.

Striker Aleksandar Duric, goal scorer against the Azkals in the 2010 Suzuki Cup, will be back to settle the score with Phl XI, along with returnees Lionel Lewis, Izwan Mahbud, Safuwan Baharudin, Juma’at Jantan,Daniel Bennett, Noh Rahman, Hariss Harun, Shi Jiayi,Shahril Ishak, and Fazrul Nawaz.

The Azkals and the Lions fought to a 1-1 standoff in the Suzuki group stage, with Duric drawing first blood in the 65th minute and Fil-British Chris Greatwich hitting the equalizer on injury time.

This draw gave the Azkals the confidence and momentum to beat powerhouse Vietnam, 2-0, and draw with Myanmar (0-0) in the next fixtures to earn a breakthrough semifinal stint in the Suzuki Cup, a feat that started their rise to prominence.


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