Azkals look to end a 14-game losing streak versus Thailand
With the group stage now in the books, the stage is set for a match-up between the Philippine Azkals and Thailand in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Semifinals, starting this Saturday, December 6.
The Philippines clinched a semifinals berth following dominant wins over Laos and Indonesia and held on to the top seed in Group A after two games.
In the final group stage match, the Philippines, who played without the services of key players Juani Guirado and Patrick Reichelt, was bested by Vietnam, 3-1. Because of the loss, Vietnam overtook the Philippines for the top spot and secured their own semis seat.
The Azkals finished the group stage with two wins and one loss, good for six points and the second seed in Group A.
The Philippines’ campaign so far has been led by star striker Phil Younghusband, as well as key players such as Reichelt, Simone Rota, and Rob Gier.
While Guirado has been ruled out for the tournament and Reichelt is doubtful, the Philippines received some much needed backup as they get back the services of goalkeeper Roland Muller.
In the Thai “War Elephants”, the Azkals will be facing a very tough challenge.
Finishing at the top of Group B, Thailand won all three of their group stage matches and secured a semis spot in the AFF Championships for the eighth time.
The three time AFF Champions are led by coach and Thai football legend Kiatisuk Senamuang as well as 23 year old striker Adisak Kraisorn and midfielder Charyl Chappuis, both of whom have already scored two goals each for Thailand in this year’s AFF Championships.
The Azkals will have the home turf advantage on Saturday, as they play Thailand in front of the Filipino fans at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium for the first leg of the semis, before moving to hostile territory in Thailand on Wednesday, December 10.
A win over Thailand will be historic for the Philippine National Team, as the War Elephants hold a 14-game winning streak over the Philippines, a streak that dates back to 1972.
Show your support for our Philippine Azkals! Head on to the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, December 6, Kickoff time is at 8pm. You can also catch the match live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23. Coverage starts at 7:30 pm.