It was a fierce Singapore side that the Philippine Azkals encountered Saturday night as the two teams battled to a goalless draw in their first semifinal encounter in the AFF Suzuki Cup at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Unlike in their friendly matches this year where the Azkals prevailed, the Lions were more aggressive, their defense quick, while the Filipinos struggled in the first 45 minutes, unable to capitalize on several penalties awarded to them.
Coach Michael Weiss said the team played better in the second half. He noted that the Azkals were more cautious in the first 45 minutes.
He is expecting the team to play better on Wednesday, as they head for Singapore for the second leg of the semifinal.
But it will be easier said than done for the Azkals as the Lions are also gearing up for a win in their territory on Wednesday.
Daniel Bennet of Singapore said they knew it will be a tough game to play against a physical team but it will get tougher for the Azkals in the second leg.
“We always knew it was going to be tough against a physical team. But I think they know when they come to Singapore it is going to be even harder for them. We are waiting for them in Singapore, I think it is going to be a tough game for them,” Bennet said.
Bennet along with teammate Safuwan Baharudin, Isa Halim were issued yellow cards in Saturday’s game along Azkals’ Dennis Cagara. The four players need to be more careful when they play on Wednesday at Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.*NAB
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