The Philippines look to clinch a semifinal spot in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 when they visit Indonesia in the final match of the group stage tonight, 25 November 2018, at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
It will be the Azkals’ first match at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium where they played Indonesia in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals over two legs. That tie saw the Indonesians advance to the final after winning both legs, 1-0.
However the stakes are different for this match as the Philippines battle an Indonesian side already eliminated from the competition, but still possesses a dangerous threat.
The Philippines remain in second place, only behind Thailand on goal difference. But with Thailand playing Singapore in the other match, the Philippines must produce a result or risk being eliminated.
“We know it’s a very important game and to lose is a big risk,” said head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. “We want to be in the semifinals and to do that we need a result, which is a win or draw. We don’t expect an easy game because everybody wants to win. It’s a difficult game, but a big game nonetheless.”
Captain Phil Younghusband admitted that while the 2010 semifinal was an eye-opening experience, the match will be a different one with the both teams having undergone several changes over the years. The Philippines also drew Indonesia, 2-2, in Manila in 2016, won in 2014, 4-0, in Hanoi, Vietnam, and lost in 2013, 2-0, in Surakarta, Indonesia
“I think that (semifinal) game is very different to the game that’s going to be played. We have a chance to go through,” Younghusband said. “Different teams, different players. We’ll be going into the game the same as the other games, trying to play our way.”