Philippine Azkals striker Phil Younghusband beats out his defender as he tries to put the ball on play during their tune-up match against the Baguio-Benguet selection Wednesday at the Benguet State University in Baguio City. (TONY PIONILLA)
BAGUIO CITY — If Mongolia plans to go on full tactical attack against the Philippine football team in their AFC Challenge Cup qualifying rematch on March 15, expect the Azkals to win in a breeze.
“If they (Mongolia) play more attacking because they need to score goals, then I think we can score 4-0 or 5-0 win,” said star striker Phil Younghusband, 23, told the Bulletin during a lull in the Azkals’ light training and football clinic with underprivileged children yesterday here at the Brent International School. “Their defense will open up, giving us more opportunities to score.”
The Blue Wolves lost to the Azkals, 2-0, in their first meeting in Bacolod City last month, and will need to be more aggressive in their home game in Ulan Bator to have the chance of turning the tide in their favor and advance to the group stage.
But it won’t be easy as they need to win by a margin of three goals.
In the event the Blue Wolves decide to be in defensive mode again, Younghusband is optimistic of mirroring their feat last time.
“Maybe 1, 2 or 3 to nil if we get lucky,” added Younghusband despite the fact that they will be missing the services of keeper Neil Etheridge, defender Robert Gier and Chris Greatwich.
Etheridge has a commitment to his club, Fulham in London.
It’s also uncertain if Jason de Jong, who was recently acquired by Persiba Balikpapan, a club in Indonesian Super League, can join the Azkals as he is currently training with the Indon team.
But team officials say De Jong will go to Ulan Bator for the match.
Despite missing some of his satyrs, Azkals coach Hans Michael Weis believes the remaining players can get the job done.
“The ones who are not available, I can’t count on them. As much as we regret it or find it pitiful, the ones who are here will do the job,” the German coach said. “It’s always like that in life. Sometimes we must make adjustments and sacrifices.”
Team manager Dan Palami, who arrived here Thursday, earlier said Eduardo Sacapano will be a suitable replacement for Etheridge in case the 6-foot-3 keeper will have to skip the game.