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Huge blow for Azkals as Rota fractures rib in UFL Cup semis

Czeasar Dancel/UFL
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine Azkals could be a man down come their September FIFA-sanctioned matches as Stallion defender Simone Rota broke a couple of rib bones in the team's UFL Cup semifinal against Kaya.

Stallion teammate and former Azkal Ref Cuaresma confirmed to Dugout Philippines early Wednesday that Rota fractured his rib cage following a collision with Nick O'Donnell late in the regulation of the club's knockout match with Kaya on Tuesday night won by the latter.

[Related Story: Kaya subdues Stallion on penalties, earns first UFL CUP final ticket]

A fractured rib usually takes one to two months to heal, which means Rota's recovery period will coincide with the Azkals' friendly against Maldives on Sept. 3 and their much-anticipated FIFA World Cup qualifier match against Uzbekistan on Sept. 8.

Aside from possibly sitting out the Azkals' matches, he will also likely miss Stallion's battle for third place against Loyola on Friday night.