Philippines to face Nepal in AFC Asian Cup Third Round Qualifier

The Philippine Azkals and Nepal’s Ghorkalis face off in Manila in qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup on March 28 at home in Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Philippines Azkals on a mission (FIFA Ranking: 124)

The home side will approach this game with the motivation of aiming to be the first Filipino squad to make it to the Asian Cup group stages.

With the squad experiencing a bit of a slump with three draws and one defeat in its last four games which were from the AFF Suzuki Cup (their last win coming from a friendly against Kyrgyzstan last November of 2016), they will use this crucial match to notch their first win in 2017.

An offensive performance will be expected from them.

Nepal keeping their cards close to their chest (FIFA Ranking: 170)

Nepal will be expected to play cautiously based on their line-up, especially that they will play away.

A lack of friendly matches though could seem a disadvantage at first glance, but it could be a strategy of coach Kyoji Gyotoku since a big chunk of his side plays for the same club, so chemistry might not be of a problem at all.

This could even play to their advantage as their line-up boasts the required talent capable of springing attacks on the counter.

Also, coming to the game as 2016 AFC Solidarity Cup champions with a string of four wins from the last four matches to boot, it might seem that The Ghorkalis are very much a legitimate contender that their opponent should be wary of.

Head-to-Head

Philippines 3 – 0 Nepal (Draw: 0)

Historically, the Philippines have won all its past fixtures against Nepal. Could the streak be broken this time?

Players to watch out for

Javier Patiño (Philippines): The Henan Jianye striker’s ability to score goals as well as create spaces and chances for his teammates on the attack make him a valuable asset on offense. The way he reads the game also is one of his strengths.

Daisuke Sato (Philippines): The Iasi left-back is known for his tenacious defending and impeccable work rate. He also is a significant contributor on the attack as his frequent marauding down the flank and crosses create goal scoring chances.

Karna Limbu (Nepal): One of Nepal’s top scorers in the local league and a fan-favorite, the Jhapa XI striker is known for his cunning ability to find the back of the net whether it is beautifully taken or a poached goal.

Strong with his feet and head, he is a lethal attacker who could be the man to carry the team against their highly rated opponents.

Rohit Chand (Nepal): Manang Marshyangdi’s versatile defensive player, who could operate either in midfield or the back, is a talented player who had the experience to ply his trade overseas (India and Indonesia).

A solid contributor on defense and composed with the ball, he will play a key part in keeping the Filipino attack at bay.

What to expect

The match will be an interesting one as a contrast of styles will be expected from both sides.

The Philippines, now with a full squad with their overseas-club based players, will come out raring to notch their first win in five international fixtures at home while Nepal will aim to continue a fine current run of form by playing disciplined on defence and scoring on the counter.

A crucial three points that will go toward qualifying for the prestigious AFC Asian Cup is at stake, so a motivated performance from both squads is definite.

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