Philippine Azkals face toughest test yet in Suzuki Cup against defending champions Thailand

ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 21, 2018 10:14 AM
Suzuki Cup: Azkals face toughest test yet vs. Thailand
(Photo courtesy of @affsuzukicup on Twitter)

After a hot start to the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Philippine Men's National Football Team faces their toughest test yet in reigning champions Thailand in an all-important Group B matchup, Wednesday evening at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod. 

Already enjoying a better start to the Suzuki Cup compared to their 2016 campaign, the Azkals have earned six points in their first two games, defeating Singapore 1-0 on a late goal from Patrick Reichelt, and then following it up with a 3-2 victory over Timor-Leste, Saturday. 

The defending champions themselves have also gotten off to another excellent start, also victorious in their first two matches. 

Thailand kicked off their campaign with a 7-0 drubbing of Timor Leste, led by Adisak Kraisorn's six-goal onslaught. They followed that up with a 4-2 win over Indonesia. 

Against Thailand, the Azkals haven't had much success. In their head-to-head record, the Philippines has only won thrice in 19 matches, all dating back to their first three meetings back in 1971-1972. Their last favorable result against Thailand was a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the 2014 Suzuki Cup semifinals.

Wednesday's matchup will be a crucial one for both sides, given that the Azkals and Thailand remain the only two sides in Group B that have yet to taste defeat. 

A win for the Azkals all but secures their entry to the knockout phase. 

Kickoff time is at 8:00 PM, Manila time. 

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