Azkals vs Palestine in Challenge Cup final

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


THE Philippines Azkals will test their mettle against Palestine when they collide for the AFC Challenge Cup title tomorrow at the Male National Stadium in Maldives.

This after the Thomas Dooley-coached Azkals edged the host team Maldives, 3-2, in their Tuesday semi-final clash. Palestine toppled Afghanistan, 2-0, in an earlier semis encounter.

The Filipinos grabbed a 2-1 lead behind Phil Younghusband and Jerry Lucena's goals in the 19th and 39th minutes while Mohamed Umair scored for Maldives in the 36th. Asadhulla Abdulla's goal in the 66th levelled the match at 2-all.

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Chris Greatwich scored the extra-time winner in the 104th for the Philippines that booked a final spot of the AFC Challenge Cup for the first time.

The winner in tomorrow's championship match will advance to the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

Coach Dooley, in an article at www.the-afc.com website, said he has been setting his eyes on the country's first-ever stint in the Asian Cup. "We want to play at the next level, that is not a secret. We came over here to win the Challenge Cup. We want to play at the next level which is the Asian Cup so we want to play against those big guys, not to win something but to play with them and that is our biggest goal."

He was also quoted to have said that they are going step by step as they play and believe that they will become successful.

Dooley added, "And right now the biggest thing we can do is write a new history in the next game so we want to prepare the team to write history."

Maldives and Afghanistan was set to play for third place at 10 p.m. yesterday, Manila time.

Today's titular showdown will be aired live over ABS-CBN at 11:30 p.m.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 29, 2014.

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