Azkals sweat on Michael Falkesgaard injury as Asian Cup 2019 looms

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Sven-Goran Eriksson will be sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard who missed the 2-1 loss to Vietnam in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 second leg on Thursday.

After a 2-1 defeat in Bacolod in the first leg, the Azkals made the trip to Hanoi, hoping to reverse their fortunes and qualify for the final against Malaysia.

With preparations underway on the eve of the match, former England manager Eriksson had to make a huge call, and decided to play Patrick Deyto in goal, ahead of Danish-born stopper Falkesgaard.

The Bangkok United goalkeeper has been carrying a groin injury for the last two weeks and played through the pain barrier.

AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Vietnam end Philippines’ hopes of miracle

Falkesgaard had started all of the Azkals matches at this tournament, except for the opening win over Singapore, where Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge was in goal.

With the Asian Cup less than a month away, Eriksson made the decision not to further risk his stopper for the must-win game against the Golden Dragons.

“I’ve been playing with a groin problem the last two weeks and it has progressively gotten worse,” Falkesgaard revealed to FOX Sports Asia in Hanoi.

“It hurts not to be able to get out there representing Philippines but with the Asian Cup in mind, the coaches and I spoke about it and made the decision.

“It was tough watching the boys get stuck in and not being able to contribute but I thought Patrick (Deyto) had a good game.

“I’m going to fly straight home to seek treatment and do my recovery. The doctors say I need two weeks to get back to training and I hope, I can return to 100 per cent and do the job for Philippines at the Asian Cup.

“This Suzuki Cup experience has been wonderful and I want another shot at it if possible. We have never won it and it will be a dream come true for me if we can do it in 2020.”