The Azkals are looking for their third straight win against host Vietnam.
With a semifinals seat already in place following their dominant wins over Laos and Indonesia, the Philippine National Football Team will be looking to close out the group stage in similar fashion as they look for the sweep with a win over Vietnam on Friday.
Should they get past the Ao Do, the Azkals will once again make history by winning all three matches in the group stage for the first time in the country’s AFF Championship history.
It will be a steep hill to climb for the Azkals however, as they will be missing the services of starters Juani Guirado and Patrick Reichelt due to injuries. Guirado suffered a hamstring injury early in the Indonesia match and could likely miss the rest of the tournament, while Reichelt is listed as day-to-day after tweaking his knee.
The Group A leaders will once again rely on the offensive prowess of star striker Phil Younghusband, who has already scored for the national team in each of their first two contests, as well as team captain Rob Gier, and midfielders Manny Ott, Martine Steuble, defender Simone Rota, all of whom have already turned in goals for the Azkals in this tournament.
Vietnam will be coming into this match highly motivated, as a win will ensure the Final Rounds hosts a spot in the semis along with the Philippines.
The Toshiya Miura coached squad led by their own star forward Le Cong Vinh, went to a draw against Indonesia in their opening match, but then bounced back by routing Laos, 3-0. The 2008 AFF Champions will be eyeing their seventh semifinals berth in nine appearances. They currently sit at second place in Group A with four points.
History will be on the Azkals’ side for this one, as the Filipino squad has owned their last two AFF Championship meetings, none more historic than their 2010 encounter.
Dubbed as “The Miracle in Hanoi”, a virtually unknown Philippine team that did not even qualify in the previous tournament shocked the defending champions Vietnam with a 2-0 shutout led by Younghusband and Chris Greatwich.
The Azkals had Vietnam’s number again in the 2012 AFF Championships, with former Azkals great Chieffy Caligdong scoring the game winning goal with just four minutes left in the match.
The Philippines will be hoping for a repeat of the Miracle in Hanoi when they take on Vietnam this Friday, November 28. You can watch the game LIVE at 7:30 pm on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23!