2012 AFC Challenge Cup: Do or Die match for India & the Philippines

Team India had the worst possible start into the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup yesterday with their opening 0-2 loss against Tajikistan. Tomorrow they now face the Philippines, who had also lost their opening match, 0-2 against North Korea, at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu. It is a do or die match for the Bhangra Boys and the Azkals which should guarantee a good encounter between these two teams.

India coach Savio Medeira has come in for heavy criticism for his team selection with some players getting a start, who looked totally out of sorts during the match, especially Anthony Pereira, Francis Fernandes and Sushil Kumar Singh. If Savio will make the necessary changes will have to be seen as the midfield and strikers could not make their mark on the match.

"At times you don't get the results which you strive for. But that won't deter us to be committed for our future success. We will keep trying and give our 100 percent to get the result we all are striving for," Savio quipped with confidence about his team.

And surprisingly Savio added, "We had a spirited performance against Tajikistan. But we squandered some good chances to score in the first half. Hope things will improve in our next match."

"We need to believe in ourselves and keep on playing good football, the result will come," continued Savio.

Captain Sunil Chhetri, who himself is still recovering from an injury, on the sidelines of the training session remained optimistic of staging a comeback and said, "It's going to be another tough match but we are ready and we can pull off a great result on Sunday. We all will stay focused and do whatever is expected of us."

The Philippines are in a similar situation with their German coach Michael Weiss having stitched together a team of Filipino-origin players from across the globe along with local talent. You have players who learned their football in England, Germany and Denmark in the squad and that makes the Azkals a dangerous outfit.

The Philippines are currently two places above India in the FIFA world rankings at 156, but the Southeast Asian nation has never beaten India; which should be a piece of statistics that Savio Medeira and his men would like to defend.

The kick-off is slated for 17.00 local time (16.45 IST) with no national television broadcast in India.

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