Woodland looks at Azkals win as inspiration in Dushanbe


Ceres-Negros midfielder Luke Woodland on Sunday, said that the Busmen can take inspiration on the National teams’ conquest two months ago in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe. Woodland was part of that Azkals squad together with Manny Ott, Kevin Ingreso, and Iain Ramsay who scored a 4-3 victory over the home team. The Filipino club will face Tajikistan champions FC Istiklol on Tuesday, playing on the same city but with a much at stake in the first leg of the AFC Cup Inter-Zone semifinals.

“The travel here was quite long with the Azkals,” said Woodland. “We were in Guangzhou and we flew to Urumqi where we had quite a long layover, like six to seven hours, and from there before we flew to Dushanbe. So overall it was over 24 hours, quite similar to this one (with Ceres),” he added

“The trip was quite good, we arrived 3-4 days before the game and trained at the same facilities. The trip for us so far as Ceres has been really good. The boys seem happy, like Tajikistan itself is a lot different from from a lot of other countries. Were enjoying it, its a different experience again,” said the England-born Filipino.

Woodland was on the pitch when a three-goal Azkals lead was trimmed to one before Daisuke Sato pounced on a volley to restore the advantage before walking away with the victory. The former Bolton player looked back at the match with caution while looking forward to play the Central Asia Zone winners.

“When we played Tajikistan, they started off really fast. They’re an extremely strong team last time but once we got our goals they kind of stuck back and it hit them a little bit,” said the Azkals defender. “They’re a big team (Istiklol) and I’m guessing they will be similar to the national team. We’re playing away from home, we just need to do what we’ve been doing the past few games cause we (Ceres-Negros) deserve to be here and to be honest I think we can get a result over here,” he added.

“Once we get this game on the way, everyone knows how a force we are at home and all the boys, I think are excited. Its another big stage for us and were here because we deserve it. I think were ready for the game. For us we’ve made history, were ready to make even more steps and all the boys are ready,” said the Filipino international.

The match will kick off at 7PM in Dushanbe (10PM Manila time) and will be broadcast live over Fox Sports (1). The Busmen are aiming to get a result before going back for the second leg on September 12 in Bacolod.