Azkals need only a draw to advance in AFC Challenge Cup

Posted May 24, 2014 by Leo Reyes
The Philippine Azkals need only to draw against Turkmenistan to advance in the semi- finals of the ongoing AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives.
The Philippine Azkals
The Philippine Azkals
Fresh from their 2-0 victory over Laos last Thursday, the Azkals are favored to win over Turkmenistan at at the National Stadium in Male. The game starts 7 p.m., Manila time.
Prior to their first win over Laos, the Azkals settled for a scoreless draw against Afghanistan in their first encounter in the AFC Challenge Cup.
In Azkals' 2-0 victory over Laos last Thursday, Phil Younghusband, who was coming off a game suspension for violation of game rules in the buildup games, failed to make a goal along with Rob Gier, who was likewise suspended during their encounter with Afghanistan earlier in the tournament.
It was Philippine Azkals' first win against Laos in a major tournament.
There are eight teams competing at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup divided into two groupings with Group A composed of Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine and Myanmar while Group B includes the Philippines, Afghanistan, Laos and Turkmenistan.
The eight teams were drawn from the 20 teams that figured in the elimination games as group winners last year. Read more:
Although a draw is good enough for the Azkals to advance in the Group B for the two top slots, team officials are gunning for a win against Turkmenistan.
“I know a draw is good enough but I think we now have to start treating it like, if you want to be champions in this tournament, then the mentality is always to beat the other team. That’s how we want to condition the minds of the players,” said team manager Dan Palami.
For his part, Coach Thomas Dooley said “If we want to win the championship, we have to beat everyone anyhow. We have to go to the next game and we want to win the next game no matter what,” said coach Thomas Dooley after their crucial victory over Laos.
“I don’t wanna play all this gambling (like) maybe a (seek a) tie, maybe if they score two, we score four. No, I want to win every game. I took this game (against Laos) seriously; the next game, I wanna win it. I’m trying to find out how we can beat them (Turkmenistan) and every player in the team will do the same thing then we’ll see what the results will be in the end,” he added.
The Azkals and Turkmenistan have fought twice since 2012 with the Turkmenistan winning in their first encounter but the Azkals bounced back with a 1-0 win in the buildup games at the Rizal Memorial Football field in Manila early this year.