Azkals holding on to last strand of hope
On thin ice after absorbing a pair of losses to Korea Republic (0-1) and China (0-3), a defiant Philippine Azkals vowed to keep on fighting to salvage a dream stint in the AFC Asian Cup’s Round-of-16.
“We still have hope, though probably small,” Phl coach Sven Goran Eriksson was quoted by Agence France Presse as the Azkals move on and shift their focus to Wednesday’s vital Group C match with fellow winless first-timer Kyrgyz Republic in Dubai.
The Pinoy booters, who gained acclaim in their gallant stand against the Taeguk Warriors on opening night, need to beat Kyrgyz big to possibly get a shot at one of the slots in the KO stages that will be awarded to the four best third-placed teams across all groups.
“We will fight until the end, we still have a chance to go to the next round,” said defender Alvaro Silva.
“Trust that this struggle is part of the process and trust that as long as you don’t give up and keep pushing forward, no matter how hopeless things seem, you will make it,” said midfielder Patrick Reichelt.
The Azkals draw confidence from having played the Kyrgyz in two international friendlies in 2016, prevailing on both occasions, 2-1 in Bishek and 1-0 in Manila.
“We’re not going home yet and we will see what happens in the last group stage game,” Eriksson told the AFC website.