09 December 2012

Azkals get reinforcement for 2nd leg

By Olmin Leyba

Fil-Danish Jerry Lucena is set to rejoin the Azkals and add maturity and stability in the midfield, something that was glaringly missing, especially in the first half, in the Philippines’ scoreless draw with Singapore in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal leg 1 in Manila last Saturday.
Lucena, absent in the Azkals’ historic home game at Rizal Memorial due to club commitment, meets up with his teammates today in Singapore, giving him enough time to shake off jet lag and link up with the rest of the Azkals in time for Wednesday night’s second leg at Jalan Besar Stadium.
“Having Jerry Lucena in the second leg will definitely give us more proposition in midfield and build ‘kalma’ (calm) in buildup time,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss.
Without Lucena, the Azkals’ midfield was largely in disarray against the visiting Lions, particularly in the first 45 minutes, where the home team fumbled on possessions and got lucky the Lions didn’t hit the target in spite of numerous chances.
“Our midfield in the first half was weak, to be honest,” said Weiss, who made an adjustment at the interval, sending in Marwin Angeles in place of Jason de Jong, to try to change the complexion of the match and create offensive chances.
“If the midfield doesn’t show up and distribute balls very well, you end up with loose balls and you end up playing defensively with no time to create chances,” he added.

The Azkals regrouped and took the fight to the visitors in the final half but they failed to cash in on their scoring opportunities.
Still, Weiss said the scoreless draw is a “good result” as they didn’t concede an “away” goal, which could play a big factor in case the second leg ends up in another stalemate.
Under the home-and-away format, if the two teams finish the second leg tied on goal aggregate, the one with the higher “away” goal will advance.
“With a victory or a draw with goal, we’re through. That’s what we’ll be working on,” he said.
“Now, the ball is in Singapore. They have to do something. They have to be more active and that gives us chances for counterattack.”
The Lions will naturally gun for the win at home.
“We had our chances in the first half and we were more creative but this happens. We are still in a good position, though. If we win in Singapore then we are in the finals,” said coach Radojko Avramovic.
Weiss said the key between now and Wednesday night is to make sure his wards heal and refresh their aching bodies from the bruising match.
“What’s important is recovery time. How quickly do you recover and we have to replenish energy and get back in good shape. But overall, I regard my chances as very good,” he said.
He also expects Cagara, who played just 24 hours since arriving from Denmark, to be 100 percent and “very strong” for the return match.



  1. I think they have learned their lesson and are bringing in Lucena early so he could recover from jet lag a few days before the match. Kudos to the team for doing this.

    1. In another article, Weiss mentioned that Cagara was suffering from jet lag in the last game and was having difficulty coping during the game. Acebright should have gotten the ticket ahead of time earlier. At least they are trying to avoid a repeat of the same situation with Jerry Lucena.

  2. The moronic Singaporean supporters keep on insisting that they will be a factor. I don't think so. The players will be playing not them. The fans cannot do anything but watch. Time to kick their malay asses to the trash can hahahaha

    1. What's moronic is this comment of yours! And no I'm not Singaporean! Don't underestimate home support for any team, in this case Singapore! Players need that extra boost to push themselves that extra 1% which could prove the difference and it's the home fans that will provide that. With your logic, sports should just be played behind closed doors!

      What's also ironic about your comment is that other Filipinos were saying that they should come out in full force to support the national team both at home and at the Jalan Besar. But why do that when the mentality is that "the fans can't do anything but watch"? Moronic!

    2. our Philippine government needs to act moronic like the singaporeans and maybe get us some solid economic future.

  3. Yeah I do not understand those gooks. If you confront them, some of them cries and runs home and threatens you that they will you to their mum BS. fucking gay

  4. The Singapore back 4 also have the height -- Shaiful Esah (5'10"), Baihakki Khaizan (6'3"), Safuwan Baharudin (5'11") and Daniel Bennett (6'0"). Their GK is at 5'11" and forward Duric at 6'4". Height is also might in football.

    But the Philippines will win!

    1. I dont understand you the ball is at ground most of the time, then you are talking height is might...look at the asean and asian player they don't have height their power and advantage is speed!

    2. Philippines also have the height. We will win!

  5. It really depends on how you play the game. Spain and Barcelona doesn't have the height compared to other European countries but they still manage to become WC and Euro champions.

    Going back to the topic. It's refreshing news that Lucena will be joining the team. Enough rest for him to recover

    Philippines will win!

  6. I think the take away lesson from recent events dictate that we don't become "too careless" in launching a counterpunch/offense. That we "brace" our chin or slip better from a counterpunch, or see one coming and slip to counterpunch better, and not eat up a rock-deadly right overhand punch from out of nowhere. Singapore's right flank specifically the midfield right gave us problems lately, that is a "counterpunch" that needs to be considered seriously.