Azkals in must win vs China in AFC Asian Cup tonight

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Philippine team midfielder Stephan Schrock (left) fights for the ball with South Korea’s defender Yong Lee during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup football game at the al-Maktoum stadium in Dubai on Monday. The Azkals lost to South Korea, 1-0. AFP

MANILA – The Philippine men’s football team will be in a must-win situation when it battles China in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup tonight at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The match is slated at 5:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. Manila time) where the Azkals will try to pull off an upset against the Team Dragon to keep their chances of advancing to the next round alive.

Azkals head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson hopes that his players will have the same intensity as in their close 0-1 defeat to tournament favorites South Korea last Monday in Dubai.

“I want to see that we dominate and keep the ball better against China,” Eriksson said in an interview with AFC Asian Cup website. “We created some good chances (against Korea), and I’m sure we can do that against China as well.”

He added: “But we must keep the ball a little more than (against South Korea). Good for the heart of the coach, too. This game against China will be like the final as we fight for our tournament lives.”

While his team was the underdog again against China, the Azkals mentor made sure that his players will not go down without a fight against the team that defeated them 1-8 in a friendly game two years ago.

“I think we showed the people (in Dubai), in front of the television that this country (Philippines) can play football, because I think we did a lot of good things,” Eriksson said.

He added: “We played one of the best teams in the tournament in South Korea and we created chances against them and that gives us hope to do better. I am proud of the team we had out there.”

The national men’s football team needs to finish at top two in the group or be among the four best third place finishers in the six groups to move on to the next round of the competition./PN

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