Azkals need two-goal win vs Vietnam to stay alive in AFF

MANILA, Philippines — Their bid for a historic finals appearance in serious jeopardy, the embattled Philippine Azkals hope for another “Miracle in Hanoi” as they seek to turn things around against Vietnam in tonight’s make-or-break semifinal leg 2 duel in front of a huge hostile crowd at the 40,000-seater My Dinh Stadium.

No thanks to their 1-2 setback to the Golden Dragons in the first leg in Bacolod last Sunday, the Azkals found themselves needing to beat the home side by two goals under tough conditions to steal the spot to the championship round.

The Filipino booters want to recreate their “miraculous” performance in 2010 in the Vietnamese capital, where as minnows, they shocked the Golden Dragons, 2-0, to clear the way for their milestone semifinal stint.

“It’s all to play for – it’s a one-goal difference and we’ve seen bigger miracles in football before and I think we still have a chance,” said Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband, who was part of the 2010 batch that started it all for Phl football.

“We’re not out yet,” said Azkals coach Sven Goran Eriksson. “We still have another 90 minutes to play for and we will try to change things, I have seen bigger things happening in football. And I believe that anything is possible.”

Vietnam can’t afford to relax, according to Park Hang-seo, who reminds his wards of their 2014 nightmare. Four years ago against Malaysia, the Vietnamese took a 2-1 advantage in Kuala Lumpur but fell in Hanoi, 2-4, to miss out on the finals.

“I warned them that we need to avoid a repeat of what happened against Malaysia in 2014. We need to control ourselves and make sure we do not repeat the same mistakes,” said Hang-seo.

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