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Philippine Azkals take on Fiji in ‘friendly’


By Erel Cabatbat

The Philippine Azkals will face Fiji in an international friendly tomorrow night at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The tune-up game will serve as part of the national men’s football team’s preparations against Tajikistan on March 27.

A win or draw versus Tajikistan will propel the Azkals to the tournament proper of the 2019 Asian Cup in UAE.

Ranked 168th in the FIFA World Rankings, Fiji is the second team from the Oceania Football Confederation that will play the Philippines.

The Philippines previously faced OFC-side Papua New Guinea in a 5-0 win last October 2014.

The Philippine team began the international window with a training camp last 17 March 2018 in preparation for the two matches.

23 players have been called up for the friendly including goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard.

Forward Javier Patiño gets his first call up in six months after a knee injury left him unavailable for the last three matches last year.

Interestingly, the Azkals have failed to notch a win since Patiño was sidelined due to the injury.

The Philippines drew its last three games in the qualifiers.