The Philippine national team is off to embark to rewrite history all over again when they face Palestine in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup Friday night (Saturday morning in Manila) at the National Stadium, Male.
Goals from Phil Younghusband, who has netted 36 international goals, Jerry Lucena, and Chris Greatwich, along with the heroics of Roland Muller propelled the Azkals to their first ever final with a thrilling 3-2 win over the hosts Maldives after extra time last Tuesday.
A win for the Azkals will not only clinch the coveted AFC Challenge Cup, but will also earn the final ticket to the AFC Asian Cup to be held in Australia on January 2015.
The final is the third meeting between the two Asian nations. The two sides met in 2011 during the qualifiers of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Myanmar where it ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
The Middle East side has yet to concede a goal in the competition. Their opponents, Palestine, head to the final with an impressive record, winning three matches and drawing one against Maldives, a record shared with the Azkals.
The second meeting in the 2012 Challenge Cup third place match resulted in a 4-3 win for the Philippines with Younghusband scoring twice to take home the golden boot.
Stephan Schrock, who was started from the bench last Tuesday, will look to feature in the final and Patrick Reichelt, who has two goals in the tournament along with Younghusband, will want to add to their goal tally.
Coach Thomas Dooley has long admitted that his side wants to play at the next level, and will look to his squad to leave everything on the field in the final in the hopes of winning the Challenge Cup.