Growing in confidence and looking more comfortable with its free-flowing style, the Philippines seeks a second victory in the Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup against Macau tonight at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Although they left several clear-cut chances begging, the Azkals played some attractive, dynamic football for long stretches in the 1-0 victory over Guam Monday night.
They hope to show more of the same—albeit with more clinical finishing in front of goal—in the 7:30 p.m. match against a Macau team that produced the shock result of the tournament so far when it held Chinese-Taipei to a 2-2 draw.
The Azkals have won their last two meetings with Macau in this tournament formerly known as the Long Teng Cup with their last victory coming last year when Chieffy Caligdong scored both goals in a 2-0 win in Kaohsiung. Ian Araneta also struck a hat-trick in the 5-0 thumping of Macau two years ago.
But coach Michael Weiss said past results hardly matter as Macau had shown some quality game in the match against Chinese-Taipei.
“It’s a team that is on the rise and we can’t take them lightly,” said the German. “We have to win the game and if we win that game, we will have a very good position to win the tournament.”
Nonetheless, Weiss expects plenty of improvement from the performance against Guam, which the Azkals peppered with 19 attempts, including 10 shots on target.
The Guam match marked several milestones for the Azkals with three players earning their first senior appearance in Demitrius Omphroy, who was impressive operating on the right flank, and midfielders Matthew Uy and Marvin Angeles. Midfielder Anto Gonzales also got his first start since the 2007 AFF Championship.