Philippine Azkals face uphill challenge in Tashkent
Santino Honasan on Mar 24, 2016 12:07 PM
Iain Ramsay (far left) and Javier Patino (far right) will lead the charge for the Philippine Azkals in Tashkent
The World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers resume for the Philippine Azkals, as they return to the pitch to take on the Uzbekistan Men’s National Football Team in front of a pro-Uzbek crowd at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent, Thursday evening.
After a little less than six months off, the Azkals hope to make the country proud once again, but the the odds appear to be stacked against the Pinoy side this time, more than ever, as they head to enemy territory without the services of a handful of key members including skipper Phil Younghusband and Stephan Schrock.
There’s no counting the Azkals out however, as standouts Javier Patino, Iain Ramsay and the rest of the new-look Azkals try to head back home with a win.
While officially eliminated from World Cup Qualification, the Azkals’ last two outings are crucial if they want to remain in third place in Group H, which gives them automatic entry in to the third round of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The Azkals are currently a point ahead of fourth place Bahrain and eight points behind second place Uzbekistan.
The Uzbeks on the other hand, are looking to overtake group leaders North Korea, who currently control the top spot with 16 points.
The last time that the Azkals and the Uzbeks met, Uzbekistan came away with a 5-1 win at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, behind braces from Sardor Rashidov and Igor Sergeev.
This marks the final away game for the Azkals in the Group Stage, as they fly back home to host North Korea at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on March 29.
Support Pinoy football! Catch the Philippine Azkals as they take on Uzbekistan LIVE on Thursday, March 24 at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23.