Azkals' Phil Younghusband: I would be happy with a clean sheet and a win

The Philippines national football team poster boy spoke of the pride of finally playing in front of home support in the AFF Suzuki Cup after missing out two years ago
By Khalis Rifhan
By Kenneth Tan

Philippines equaled their best ever performance in AFF Suzuki Cup as they advanced to the semifinal and set up an exciting clash with the Singapore Lions.

The Azkals rightfully claimed their spot in the semifinal as they ended the group stage as runners-up after seeing off Vietnam and Myanmar. Against tournament favourites Thailand they lost by the odd goal.

Speaking to Singapore, striker Philip Younghusband spoke of his desire to better the Azkals' record two years ago.

“Yes it is a morale booster knowing we have the capability to beat Singapore but this is a different competition and we know we will have to play very well if we want to get to the final,” said the former Chelsea trainee.

“Singapore have many players we have to be wary of, both from their starters and the players they can bring in from the bench. They have players that can create something from nothing.

“I would be happy with a clean sheet and a win. Even a 1-0 win will be something to hold onto.”

Phil, together with his brother James, was born in England and returned to the Philippines in 2005 after the Philippines Football Federation was alerted to the Younghusbands' eligibility to play for the Philippines.

Having missed out on the chance to play their Suzuki Cup match on home soil two years ago, the Loyola Meralco Sparks player is raring to go in front of loyal fans on Saturday and create another milestone for the Azkals in the tournament.

“It will be our first game in front of our home crowd in such a prestigious and meaningful competition so everyone is excited,” he said.

“Although no matter where we go, we always have great support from Filipinos. The fact we missed out having a home game in 2010 makes this game more exciting and long awaited.

“I think we have a good a chance as any of the four remaining teams. I think it’s important we play our own game and with hard work and a little luck, it could be history again for Philippines football.”

Philippines will take on Singapore at the Rizal Memorial stadium on December 8 before travelling to Jalan Besar Stadium for the return leg on December 12.