The match is all set for Tuesday.
Philippine Azkals coach Michael Weiss is under no illusion that the match against Indonesia this Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila is going to be a breeze.
After all, the visitors are no pushovers. They also have a rich football history.
He, however, mentioned a factor that might give Azkals a slight advantage in their skirmish in the second round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“The opponent is under pressure more than us because Indonesia is a country with big expectations,” Weiss said during the pre-match press conference on Monday, as shared by Radyo Pilipinas 2 Sports' Aaron Bayato.
Though ranked lower than the world no. 138 Philippines, the world no. 145 Indonesia has had the Filipinos’ numbers over the years.
Most recently, Indonesia dealt the Azkals a 2-1 defeat in the AFF Championship group stage last year.
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That’s why the Azkals, who are coming off a 2-0 defeat to Vietnam, cannot afford a slow start when they battle the Indonesians, who lost to Iraq, 5-1, last Thursday.
The Filipino booters started flat against Vietnam and gained their bearings only in the second half. They had plenty of good looks but were not able to capitalize on them.
When the Azkals put up a last-ditch effort to score an equalizer, Nguyen Dinh Bac squeezed in a goal that sealed the win for Vietnam.
“Our mental approach is we have to start strong. We have to let them understand that we play at home. We have to show them we play with a lot of passion,” said Azkals midfielder Christian Rontini.
“Tomorrow for us is a crucial game. We just need to go inside and bring the heart and passion,” he stressed.
Catch the Azkals take on Indonesia this Tuesday live at 7 p.m. on One Sports and the Pilipinas Live app.(PM)