Match Tuesday(Rizal Memorial Stadium)7 p.m. — Philippines vs Indonesia
THE HOME supporters — over 10,000 of them — came out for the Philippines in Thursday’s FIFA World Cup (WC) Qualifiers opener and are expected to be back for tonight’s must-win game against Indonesia at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Now it’s the turn of the Azkals to do their part and seize that important victory against the Indonesians at 7 p.m.
The hosts and the visitors are similarly coming off losing results in the kickoff slates of Group F. While the Filipinos yielded a 0-2 defeat to Vietnam in Manila, the Indonesians had worse, conceding to Iraq in a one-sided affair over in Basra, 1-5.
“We have to get our powers back (after the tough Vietnam game). We’re going to go out with full power against Indonesia,” said Philippine coach Michael Weiss.
The Azkals hope to take full advantage of home field edge and big crowd support to succeed after falling short last time.
“The atmosphere was amazing. We’ve been longing for supporters to come out and obviously, we’re very happy with the ‘10K Strong” campaign. Support was fantastic and we want this to continue in our game on Tuesday,” said skipper Neil Etheridge.
Mr. Weiss feels the hosts have some things in their favor against an Indonesian opponent that has flown to Iraq then headed to Southeast Asian neighbor Philippines in a two-game road swing over seven days.
“It will probably be a little bit more of an open match, where we can risk a little bit more considering Indonesia is coming from a long trip from the Middle East, had a tough match against Iraq and they’d have jet lag going there, plus jet lag coming back (to Southeast Asia),” said Mr. Weiss.
“This all plays into our cards. The (Rizal’s) artificial pitch, we’re used to it now; they come from grass. We might have small favors but we shouldn’t also be too safe (complacent) about it.” — Olmin Leyba