Azkals ready to book semi-final berth against Indonesia

Philippines coach Thomas Dooley claims his side are aware of the task at hand against Indonesia on Tuesday as they look to advance to the semi-finals of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Azkals, who opened their campaign with a dominant 4-1 win over Laos at the weekend, can seal a top-two finish in Group A – and a place in the knockout round with a game to spare – by beating the Indonesians at the My Dinh Stadium on Tuesday.

Indonesia, four-time runners-up in the competition, looked out of sorts in their own opener against Vietnam but showed tremendous resilience to come from behind twice a force a 2-2 draw.

Aware of what is at stake in the meeting between the two teams, Dooley insists his side will be determined to get the win in order to book their place in the last four.

“We’re in a good situation,” he said.

“But first, we have to beat Indonesia because it’s going to be more difficult in the final game as Vietnam are the strongest team in our group.

“I think Indonesia will be more aggressive and look to attack a little bit more, so we have to do everything right and make less mistakes.”

Philippines striker Phil Younghusband, who weighed in with one goal and two assists against the Laotians, is also hoping his side can show they belong at this level by securing a semi-final berth for the third tournament in a row.

“We know if we’re going to be the best then we have to beat the best,” the Azkals’ all-time top scorer said.

“We have to start in Southeast Asia and Indonesia are one of the best teams here. If we are going to win the tournament, we will have to beat such teams.”

Although their 2-2 draw against the Vietnamese was far from an ideal start to the tournament, Garuda boss Alfred Riedl is hoping his side can make the most of the reprieve by kicking on against Philippines, having admitted they had been dominated in their opening game.

“When you manage to get a reward from such matches, it should help you for the coming challenges,” the Austrian said.

“Each match for us at this level helps improve our fitness and hopefully we can see it in the next matches, and then the knockout round.”

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