Philippines played out their final warm-up game for the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup on Friday evening and cruised to a 3-0 over Cambodia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Daisuke Sato got the Azkals on their way in the 14th minute when he was left in space outside the box, and proceeded to unleash a 25-yard rocket that opposition keeper Sou Yaty got a hand to but was just unable to keep out.
Five minutes before the break, the hosts doubled their tally as Manny Ott opened his account for Philippines; netting on the rebound after Phil Younghusband’s initial effort had been saved.
With a comfortable advantage in their possession, the hosts did take their foot off the pedal in the second half but they still managed to finish the game strongly – adding a third in the 90th minute as Younghusband struck his 40th international goal to wrap up the win.
Having reached the semi-finals in the last two editions of the Suzuki Cup, Thomas Dooley’s charges will be looking to repeat the feat this year although it will not be as straightforward as some might imagine.
Although Group B is widely regarded as the “group of death” given it contains defending champions Singapore, three-time winners Thailand, 2010 victors Malaysia and up-and-coming Myanmar, Group A is also expected to pose a number of stern tests to its teams.
Apart from Philippines, hosts Vietnam will be looking to emulate their triumph in 2008, while Indonesia have made quite an impact on the regional stage having reached the final in four previous occasions.
The last team in Group A are Laos, who were impressive in last month’s qualifiers although they ultimately finished the campaign as runners-up after being pipped to top spot by Myanmar.
The Azkals kick off their campaign in Hanoi on November 22 against the Laotians and follow that up with a crunch clash against Indonesia three days later, before finishing up against the hosts on November 28.
Philippines: Patrick Deyto (Tomas Trigo 83’), Simone Rota (Kenshiro Daniels 74’), Amani Aguinaldo, Rob Gier (Juan Luis Guirado 30’), Daisuke Sato, Manny Ott, Martin Steuble (Chris Greatwich 61′), Patrick Reichelt (Paul Mulders 46’), Phil Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran, Mark Hartmann (Simon Greatwich 75’).
Cambodia: Sou Yaty, Hong Pheng, Sok Sovan, Say Piseth, Soeuy Visal, Ngoy Srin, Sos Suhana, Kouch Sokumpheak, Rous Samoeun, Prak Mony Udom, Khoun Laboravy.