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Preview - Timor Leste v Philippines

VIENTIANE: Philippines coach Simon McMenemy will be taking nothing for granted for his side's opening match in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying round against Timor Leste on Friday.

Timor Leste are the perceived minnows of the competition and will enter the match at the National Sports Complex in Vientiane with one draw and 11 defeats in the 12 matches that they have played in the AFF Suzuki Cup since their debut in 2004.

They have lost all their previous matches against the Filipinos, who won 2-1 in the 2004 group stage in Kuala Lumpur, 7-0 in the 2007 qualifying tournament in Bacolod and 1-0 in the 2008 qualifiers in Phnom Penh.

But McMenemy, who is just two months into his job as Philippines coach, is leaving nothing to chance.

"I am very confident with my team because we have trained very hard and most of our players have a lot of experience," said the 32-year-old Englishman.

"But our game against Timor Leste will be tough and we will not be taking it easy against them."

Having narrowly missed out on the group stages of the Suzuki Cup two years ago, Philippines are eager to make amends in this year's qualifying round. They finished third in the qualifiers in 2008, level on points and goal difference with runners-up Cambodia but went out as a result of scoring fewer goals than the Indochinese side.

And McMenemy is feeling good about his charges after some positive results at the recent Long Teng Cup in Chinese Taipei including a 1-1 draw with the hosts, a 5-0 win over Macau and a 2-4 defeat by Hong Kong.

"The team have strong confidence that they can earn qualification to the group stage as they performed well in their recent matches game against Hong Kong and Macau," he said.

"I am very satisfied with the team that I have."

Timor Leste coach Pedro Correia de Almeida acknowledged that his youthful team will enter the match as the underdogs but he insisted that his team will still be battling to get a result.

Said de Almeida: "All of my players for this tournament are young players as we have selected them from our under-19 team.

"I know that Timor Leste have less experience compared to the other teams here and we have a couple of injuries as well. But my players are still ready to play tomorrow."

"But the ball is round and nobody knows. Anything can happen in 90 minutes and if we have a chance to score we will do so."