Azkals return home ahead of Singapore clash

By TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2012 12:50 AM | Updated as of Dec 02 2012 08:17 PM

Singapore secures semis showdown vs Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -- A day after the Azkals booked a historic return-ticket to the semifinals of the 2012 Suzuki Cup, the emotions have yet to sink in and some of the Azkals are still on a high over their stunning win versus Myanmar.

The Azkals flew home early Saturday evening a week ahead of their first-ever Suzuki Cup semi-final home game at the Rizal Memorial on December 8.

Co-captain Chieffy Caligdong is particularly happy with the team's performance and confidence.

He notes that at least this time around they will know what to expect in terms of the pressure and atmosphere of playing in home and away semi-finals tie.

Goalkeeper Eduard Sacapaño, who has been thrust to the starter's role in the absence of Neil Etheridge and Roland Muller, is thankful for his teammates' support that helped him earn 2 clean sheets in 3 matches.

He admits his confidence continues to rise and this will help him improve in the coming semifinals.

For Phil Younghusband, it's been a roller coaster of emotions as it was a whirlwind of sorts with just a month ago there was no assurance whether he and his brother James would return to the Azkals.

In 2010, his mom was still around. Now he dedicates every match to her.

He also noted he is thankful for the support of his sister and his girlfriend Angel Locsin. But as for the result on the pitch, he was so thankful and relieved that he was able to help the team get the big win over Myanmar and advance to the semis.

Fans and media swarmed the Azkals during their arrival at the airport.

At a press conference, Coach Weiss again thanked the support of the Filipino fans.

Weiss bared the plans for the week as the team gets a 2-day break and resumes training on Tuesday.

The team will likely be billeted at one hotel until Saturday to retain the focus of the squad even if they are at home.

Meanwhile, in Group B action, Malaysia outlasted Indonesia 2-0 while Singapore came from behind to beat Laos 4-3.

Both Singapore and Malaysia advance to the semifinals with 6 points, but with the lead in the goal difference,

Singapore took the top spot in the group and will face the Philippines in the semifinals.

The other semifinals match-up will pit Malaysia versus Thailand. Their tie begin on December 9 in Kuala Lumpur.