The Philippine National Football Team is scheduled to face North Korea anew in an exhibition game at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila at 8 p.m. today.
After being outplayed by Bahrain in their previous tune-up last Friday, the Azkals will once again face a familiar foe in their last friendly match in the October international window.
The Filipinos and the North Koreans were both housed in Group H in the second round of the joint 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup, which the former finished at third place while the latter ended at the second spot.
The Eastern Asian nation was shocked by the Azkals in their two-game meeting in the continental qualifiers following a scoreless draw in Pyongyang and a 3-2 upset in Manila.
National team star Misagh Bahadoran together with Manuel Ott and Iain Ramsay powered the Philippines in their historic victory over the higher-ranked North Korea in March.
According to former Filipino international Chieffy Caligdong, who currently assists head coach Thomas Dooley in the helm of the squad, changes will be made to the team’s game plan.
“Three or four players got injured in our game against Bahrain, so it is possible that coach Dooley will make changes in our tactics in our game against North Korea,” he said.
Dooley stressed that he has given the players a two-day break before the game to recalibrate their mental conditioning going into the affair.
On the other hand, International football newcomer Mike Ott is expected to headline for the country after scoring the lone goal in the 1-3 defeat against Bahrain together.
Youngsters Danie Gadia, Paolo Bugas and Fitch Arboleda are also slated to boost their side’s roster together with the battle-tested veterans of the Azkals.
The exhibition match is part of the Philippines’ preparations for the upcoming group stage of the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup that will be held in the country in November.
The Azkals will be playing their final friendly match against Kyrgyzstan on November 9 before diving into action against the teams of Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia in the Southeast Asian football championship.