The Philippine Azkals are set to face the Singapore Lions tonight for a crucial match that will determine if they will advance to the AFF Suzuki Cup finals for the right to face the winner of another exciting game between Thailand and Malaysia on Thursday
The Azkals and the Lions figured in scoreless draw match (0-0) in the semi-final series at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila last Saturday.
The Lions now enjoy an advantage of having to play in their home turf but another draw game will send the Azkals to the finals (in accordance with "away goals rule") for the right to face the winner of another exciting game between Malaysia and Thailand on Thursday in Bangkok.
The defending AFF Suzuki Cup champion Malaysia is tied with Thailand War Elephants in the current standing of the semi-finals of the tournament.
In last Saturday's game in Manila, the Lions dominated the first half of the game with several offensive goal attempts but the Azkals put up a good defense with the superb defensive game by Azkal goalkeeper Ed Sacapano.
The Singapore team also had more ball possessions in the first half as they took advantage of Azkals' weak offensive stance in going for the ball.
But in the second half of the game, the Azkals succeeded in putting more pressure on the Lions by taking more offensive actions, resulting into more ball possessions.
Still, the Azkals failed to convert a goal due to the Lion's increased defensive posturing to prevent the Askals from scoring. Read more
Azkals coach Michael Weiss recognized the apparent anemic showing of his men in the midfield during last Saturday's game in Manila which could be checked with the re-entry of midfielder Jerry Lucena.
"We have Jerry Lucena available for the second leg, which will definitely help us in midfield," he said via nst.com
"We start from zero (in Singapore) but a scored draw or a victory and we are through. I am positive that we will play better in Singapore than we did today," he said in an interview after the game in Manila last Saturday.