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4:39 pm on 26 December 2022, Monday
By Romeo Braceros Jr.
The men's national team of the Philippines spent Christmas away from their loved ones as the Azkals traveled to Bangkok for their match against Thailand on Monday night in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.
The Azkals are willing to sacrifice to further their larger objective of leaving their mark on the competition, where they have performed admirably over the previous 12 years.
After knocking Brunei Darussalam out of the tournament by a score of 5-1 last Friday at Rizal Memorial Stadium, the Azkals now have the difficult job of upsetting the War Elephants, who haven't lost to the Philippines in this competition.
“It’s very important for this young group to bounce back,” said captain Stephan Schrock. Schrock, 35, noted the team’s average age drops considerably when he’s off the pitch.
Last Friday, the Bundesliga veteran was replaced in the second half by 18-year-old Harry Nuez, a midfielder for the Azkals Development Team who fell in love with the sport while attending the Tuloy Foundation.
Sebastian Rasmussen scored the team's fifth goal while playing for the Azkals Development Team.
Rasmussen, who was playing for the Azkals' senior team for the first time, Sandro Reyes, and Jhan Jhan Melliza all scored their first goals against Brunei.
Kenshiro Daniels increased his goal to three by scoring the game's first goal as he continued his stellar play.
However, the Azkals have little margin for error while playing the powerful Thais, significantly after they dropped their opening match to Cambodia by a score of 2-3 last Monday.
In Kuala Lumpur, the Thais defeated Brunei 6-0 to kick off their campaign.
The Thais are the current champions, having won a record-breaking sixth title in Singapore last year. Teerasil Dangda has a competition-record of 21 goals and is their other deadly goal scorer.