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article imagePhilippine Azkals seek finals slot in AFC Challenge Cup

By Leo Reyes     Mar 16, 2012 in Sports
The highly-charged Philippine Azkals will shoot for a slot in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup as they face highly-rated Turkmenistan Friday at the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu
Last Sunday, the Azkals defeated the Indian Blue Tigers 2-0, followed by another stunning victory over Tajikistan Tuesday with a 2-1 score.
Competing in the Group B of the AFC Challenge Cup, the Philippine team failed to score in their first attempt for a a spot in the semi-final game against 2010 champion North Korea.
The victory over Tajikistan last Tuesday, marked the first time the Philippines enters the semi-finals of the AFC Challenge Cup.
The knockout stage of the tournament will feature the Philippine vs. Turkmenistan followed by North Korea vs. Palestine on Friday March 16 at the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal. Winners in knockout stage will face each other in the finals on March 19.
Four of the eight remaining competing teams which include India, Nepal, Tajikistan and Maldives have so far been eliminated from the tournament.
Azkals' coach Michael Weiss is hopeful the team members will give out their best efforts to win the crucial game against the highly-rated Turkmenistan team.
Two of Azkals' key players, James Younghusband and Angel Guirado will not see action in the game against Turkmenistan due to suspension. Despite of this, coach Weiss said he has enough players who are waiting to be tapped for the crucial game.
"Suspensions happen in football. We don't cry or lament about what happened as I have a squad of players that always want to play. They always come to me and say 'coach, let me play, let me play' so now they have a chance.
"We have two players suspended and a central defender who is out injured but this means we are bringing in fresh legs and players who are looking forward to playing their first match in the tournament."
The semi-final games featuring the top four contenders start at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nepal time.
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