By Shahrukh Sohail, Chief Editor, Islamabad
The Pak Shaheens will be aiming to make history against the hosts in the last game of the Peace Cup, with a draw or win ensuring their crown as champions.
Backed by pundits as the team to beat, Philippines struggled to convert their chances against Chinese Taipei and some brilliant moments from their opponents eventually saw them lose 2-1 in the opening tie.
However, backed by the home crowd, they can still change things by winning against the Green Kickers with a big score-line and clinch the title for themselves.
Despite facing a confident Taiwan side, Mohammad Al-Shamlan’s charges came out on top with skipper Zesh Rehman getting his first International goal that ultimately proved to be the difference on the night.
And now with a chance to lift silverware, Pakistan will be raring to go and will field a strong side as they aim for glory.
Although having the likes of Stephen Schrock (Eintracht Frankfurt) and Neil Etheridge (Fulham), the Filipinos failed to impress last time out and their situation has been further compounded by the fact that several stars have been taken ill with food poisoning.
Phil Younghusband (Loyola Meralco Sparks) Mark Hartmann (Global), Jason DeJong (Global) and OJ Porteria (Kaya) are possible absentees from tomorrow’s game and coach Michael Weiß will have to shuffle his side if they are to come out on top.
With a tricky game, coach Shamlan will need to rely on Danish duo Hassan Bashir and Mohammad Ali up-front, while the midfield and defence should stay the same. Saddam Hussain and Bilalawal-ur-Rehman could continue where they left off, while Mohammad Adil and Kaleemullah could be utilized to exploit the wings.
Captain Zesh Rehman has been a rock at the back and will need to command the line effectively alongside Ahsanullah, Mohammad Ahmed and Faisal Iqbal.
Goalkeeper Yousuf Butt put in an amazing shift last time out and saved everything that was thrown at him and with such form, Pakistan can go into the game with confidence.
Philippines: Stephen Schrock
Schrock was Philippines’ best player against Chinese Taipei and will need to be in top form if the side are to get anything out of the game.
Pakistan: Hassan Bashir
After adapting to the conditions last time, Hassan will surely be looking to make his mark this time around and in one stroke could change the entire situation of the game.
Having beaten Taipei, Pakistan would be favourites, but Philippines have home support and that could give them an edge. However, they face a tough task in scoring a couple of goals to win the tournament, so Pakistan have the upper hand and should come out on top to make history with a narrow win again.
Philippines 0:1 Pakistan