The two teams that suffered 2-0 defeats to their respective opponents will face each other in a virtual must-win match on Sunday, as the Philippines, who lost to DPR Korea, faces India, who lost to Tajikistan, at the Dashrath Rangasala Stadium in Kathmandu.
India lost last Friday 2-0, with both goals coming in a span of five minutes. Coach Savio Medeira pointed to their midfield play as the main reason for their defeat against Tajikistan. On the other hand, the Philippines withstood the aggressive play of the North Koreans, even managing to secure a penalty save from Fulham FC's third string GK Neil Etheridge. It took the defending champions 58 minutes to barge into the scoresheet, thanks to Pak Nam-Chol's header, followed suit by a Jang Kuk-Chol strike eleven minutes later. Coach Michael Weiss, however, was encouraged by the result against the team that played in South Africa during the World Cup.
The reigining South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) champions are led by Sunil Chhetri, a 27-yr old forward who had a cup of tea with MLS club Sporting Kansas City (then known as the Kansas City Wizards) and was considered good enough to play for the Premiership side Queens Park Rangers. Coach Medeira might opt to tinker with the lineup and insert the likes of Jewel Raja and Joachim Abranches to improve their midfield and attack or Nirmal Chhetri, Arnab Mondal or Kingshuk Debnah at the back line.
Meanwhile, the Philippines received some good news with FC Dordecht '90 midfielder Jason de Jong expected to arrive in Nepal to provide midfield depth. Still no word on Stephan Schröck and Dennis Cagara making their way to Kathmandu, as both have matches with their 2. Bundesliga clubs in the past two days. In addition, Emelio Caligdong and Rob Gier made their return to active duty, albeit as substitutes. Both players are recovering from football-related injuries.