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PH Azkals clash with Malaysia

Game Today
(Cebu City Sports Complex)
7 p.m. – Philippines vs Malaysia

The Philippine Azkals will once again try to beat Malaysia for the first time in more than two decades when the two sides square off in an international friendly match today at the Cebu City Sports Complex.

The national booters, who are using this 7 p.m. encounter as one of their final preparations for next month’s AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives, are hoping to finally see the light of the end of the tunnel against the Malaysians.

The last time that the Philippines won over the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup champion was during the 1991 Manila Southeast Asian Games when Norman Fedigero scored the solitary goal in front of a crowd at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

In recent years, the Azkals have been inches away from ending the drought.

The two teams battled to a pair of draws in 2012 and settled for a scoreless tie last month in a match held at the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Azkals coach Thomas Dooley is expected to make more experiments with star striker Phil Younghusband not part of the roster.

Expected to make his return is Fil-Spaniard Carli Murga, who was out for six months due to an knee injury before playing a few games for United Football League second division side Ceres-La Salle.

It is still unknown if Dooley will start either veteran goalkeeper Ed Sacapano and youngster Patrick Deyto to protect the net.

Deyto made a good account of himself during the Malaysian friendly and earn a shutout in his national team debut while Sacapano has been the regular starter whenever Neil Etheridge or Roland Muller are unavailable.

Other notable Azkals who have been impressive in recent matches are Simone Rota, Curt Dizon, Ruben Doctora, Daisuke Sato and Kenshiro Daniels.

— Jonas Terrado