Azkals battle host Nepal » Manila Bulletin Sports

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by Jonas Terrado

The dream that eluded the Philippine Azkals three years ago could become a reality today as they shoot for a historic berth to the 2019 Asian Cup against host Nepal in the third round of qualifiers in Kathmandu.

The Azkals want nothing less than gain the maximum three points in today’s 4:15 p.m. Manila time duel in order to secure their first-ever trip to Asia’s biggest football competition which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Leading Group F with eight points through four matches, the Azkals have two chances to gain passage to the Asian Cup – a bid they were denied in 2014 when they lost to Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup final in Maldives.

Not far behind the Azkals of coach Thomas Dooley are Yemen and Tajikistan, tied for second with six points each and slated to play the other Group F game tonight in Hisor.

Dooley hopes to see a determined Azkals side against a Nepalese squad already out of Asian Cup contention and avoid the dangerous situation of possibly missing the Asian Cup heading into their last qualifying match against Tajikistan in March 2018.

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