first_imgView comments No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college The Azkals need maximum effort if they want to thwart Vietnam in its home field and advance to the Suzuki Cup title duel. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/LAGARDERE SPORTS.HANOI—The Philippines needs its greatest performance yet to finally get a shot at Southeast Asian football’s biggest prize.With the odds stacked heavily against them, the Azkals not only need to summon their trademark never-say-die spirit but would have to be as clinical and incisive as ever as they try to overturn a 2-1 first leg semifinal defeat against favorites Vietnam on Thursday night before an expected sellout crowd at My Dinh Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew It may seem a stretch to note that their win against Vietnam in the “Miracle in Hanoi” on Dec. 5, 2010 also happened to be 2-0, but Younghusband said they need every bit of inspiration to topple the region’s top-ranked team.“It’s been mentioned a lot in the past few days, but we know it was at a different time and with different players and a different situation,” said Younghusband. “But for us on the team, we always take inspiration from that performance because I think that game typified what we’re all about as a team with that never-say-die spirit.”The Azkals, however, do have some concerns heading into the match, particularly in defense, which coach Sven-Goran Eriksson felt gave away two easy goals in the first leg. There will be little room for error for Carlie de Murga, Alvaro Silva, Martin Steuble and Adam Reed at the back with Vietnam looking to kill the tie off with an early goal.Vietnam’s defense was breached for the first time in the tournament, thanks to a flowing move finished off by the in-form Patrick Reichelt.The Azkals, for the most part, however, found the Vietnamese tough to crack.ADVERTISEMENT Coseteng spearheads PH kart bid After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk The Azkals are no strangers to pulling off magical feats, but they can’t expect any favors from a Vietnamese side that also carries the weight of expectation from a nation that treats the sport as a religion similar to the Filipinos’ devotion to basketball.As early as last week, tickets for the match kicking off at 8:30 p.m. (Manila time) were already sold out and scalpers outside My Dinh Stadium last Wednesday were selling them at six times their original price with the best tickets going for 6 million Vietnamese dong or around P13,500.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“We’re looking forward to the game, we know it will be difficult, but we have good memories here in Hanoi and at this stadium,” said Azkals captain Phil Younghusband. “We’re still in the game. We still have a chance.”The Azkals are left with a daunting task to score at least a 2-0 win to reach the finals, where the winner of the Thailand-Malaysia clash awaits. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardlast_img read more