By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
Will the Philippine Azkals keep its winning streak in the Visayas region tonight?
The national team is undefeated in the region with nine straight wins, and tonight they will be tested when they face Pakistan at 7 for the 2nd Philippine Peace Cup at the PanaadPark and Stadium in Brgy. Mansilingan, BacolodCity.
However, winning isn’t that all for the Azkals. They have to win with a two goal-margin to enable them to keep the title.
The 2-1 loss of the Azkals against Chinese Taipei on Friday place the host team on the bottom of the team standing while Pakistan is on top with three points and +1 goal difference followed by Chinese Taipei (3 points/0GD).
Thus, the scenario will be that if the Philippines win on a goal margin, Chinese Taipei will capture the championship via head-to-head record.
However, if the match ends on a draw, Pakistan wins the Peace Cup title.
Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella, who is also a FIFA Marketing and TV Committee member, has appealed to the people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental to show their support to the national team on Tuesday at the Panaad Stadium.
In 2011, more than 20,000 spectators filled the Panaad Stadium during the Philippines-Mongolia tiff for the Challenge Cup.
On the other hand, in the post-match press conference last Sunday, Pakistan head Coach Mohamed Shamlan said that he look at the Philippine Team as a strong squad and was surprised when it yielded to Chinese Taipei.
“I have been following the Philippine Team’s games in the past years. They have improved so much. They are a strong squad. They performed well against stronger teams like Kuwait, Bahrain, among the few,” Shamlan said. “We are expecting a great game,” he added.
Meanwhile, Philippine team head Coach Hans Michael Wiess, earlier, said that after their disappointing loss to Chinese Taipei the team will do lots of adjustments for their match against Pakistan.
The Peace Cup signals the start of the Azkals’ build-up for the AFC Challenge Cup Maldives 2014 Finals which will be held in May next year./
WDJ -Watchmen Daily Journal