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Philippines, Indonesia gear up for "must-win" AFF Cup Group A clash

BOCAUE -- Philippines and Indonesia head into Tuesday's meeting at the Philippine Sports Stadium aware that neither can afford a defeat for the sake of their 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup prospects.

Both sides failed to win on the opening day of Group A action at the weekend as Indonesia went down 4-2 to Thailand, while Philippines were held to a 0-0 draw by Singapore despite playing almost an hour with a numerical advantage.

Bottom of the group, another defeat for Indonesia would effectively end their hopes of a top-two finish, and a place in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, with a final game to come against defending champions and heavy favourites Thailand, the Azkals will be aware of the risk of needing to win that match.

"Both teams have to win the game so I hope this will mean a very interesting game for the fans," said Philippines coach Thomas Dooley.

"I hope we can see a nice game and I also hope that we're going to win.

"Mentally, the team is very, very strong.

"We had a long conversation before the tournament about what kind of team we need in order to be successful and it's all about having a positive environment, energy and spirit.

"Of course, the players are a little bit frustrated and upset that we didn't score and win against Singapore, but nothing has changed.

"Even if we had lost or won against Singapore, we still know we need to beat Indonesia and then see what we have to do against Thailand.

"The motivation is there and the players look fit and ready."

Following their one and a half year suspension from international competition due to government interference in their football association, Indonesia entered the tournament as outsiders, but showed glimpses of the threat they pose against the Thais.

Having watched on with interest from the stands, Dooley will be warning his charges not to underestimate Tuesday's opponents.

"We always prepare for our opponents and we want to know everything about whoever we're playing," added the former United States captain.

"There could be changes in their starting lineup but we know their offence is incredibly dangerous.

"They have unbelievable speed and two great forward, who are strong in the air, that can deal damage if you don't mark them tightly."

Meanwhile, Dooley's sentiments on the crucial nature of Tuesday's contests were echoed by Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl.

"Like what Thomas said, both teams have to win tomorrow," said the Austrian.

"If we lose, surely we're out of it so I'm expecting a very interesting game.

"Despite losing our last game 4-2, it was against the clear favourites of the tournament and our performance was quite good.

"This is something we can use to build towards the next match and that's what we'll be doing.

"The players are willing to bring something [to the people] back home and the chance is there.

"We saw Philippines play against Singapore and we believe we can beat them.

"Of course, now we have to prove it on the field."