Indonesia won't take Philippines lightly

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Indonesia may have claimed a record victory when they last faced the Philippines on home soil in the AFF Suzuki Cup but assistant coach Wolfgang Pikal has insisted that his side will show plenty of respect to their opponents when they meet in the first leg of the semi-finals on Thursday.

The Merah Putih crushed the Azkals 13-1 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium eight years ago for what remains Indonesia's biggest win in international football and the most emphatic victory in AFF Suzuki Cup history.

But the Philippines have since become a much more solid defensive outfit, conceding only one goal so far in this year's competition and earning their reward with their first ever appearance in the last four.

And despite having to play both legs of their semi-finals in an intimidating atmosphere in Jakarta due to the lack of a suitable facility in the Philippines, Pikal says that his team can take nothing for granted against their less fancied opponents.

"We respect the Philippines very much," said the Austrian. "They are a very strong team and up to now, they have only conceded one goal and they have not lost a match.

"They are not the same Philippines team as before when everybody thought that we could easily win against them without much of a struggle.

"But most of our players are fit and we are optimistic that over two legs, we have enough to go through to the final."

Having topped their group with three wins, the Indonesians were given a day off last week before resuming training on Saturday as they sought to find a way to break down the Filipino defensive wall.

Said Pikal: "All of our players were back in time and thankfully we have no injuries so the training has gone very well for us.

"The Philippines are very strong at the back. We know that and we have a strategy although I can't say what we're trying to do. We are having video training sessions with the players to see how we can open up their defence, which will be difficult

"For Indonesia, the expectation of the fans is very high so of course there is some pressure on us. So hopefully our players can concentrate for 90 minutes and deal with the problems that will come during that time."


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