The Philippines hammered out a narrow 2-1 win over Hong Kong last Friday to clinch a second straight AFC Women’s Asian Cup appearance.
Making only her second appearance for the Philippines, Chandler McDaniel struck the winner three minutes from time after Chung Pui Ki cancelled out Tahnai Annis’ goal early in the second half at JAR Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The win gave the Philippines a perfect six points in Group F as it followed up a similar 2-1 win over Nepal.
It was a composed performance by the Filipinas, a far cry from their scrambling victory last Saturday in their debut. They pressed a Hong Kong side that was held to a goalless draw by Nepal high up the pitch and constantly threatened inside the box.
Annis put the Filipinas on top with a header in the 17th minute off a pass from Rocelle Mendaño, who was the only change in the starting lineup of coach Marlon Maro.
Sara Castañeda missed an opportunity to make it 2-0 late in the first half with her tamed effort straight Ng Cheuk Wai.
Chung equalized in the 61st minute with a pinpoint free kick from just outside the box beating Inna Palacios.
The Filipinas hardly looked troubled though as McDaniel tested the Hong Kong goalkeeper from distance just shortly after.
McDaniel finally broke loose in the 87th minute, pouncing on a ball near the halfline and showing excellent control before rifling home a confident finish to give the Filipinos a deserved win.
With the victory, the Philippines became the sixth team to qualify for the continental competition set in India from January 20 to February 6, 2022.
Already assured of Asian Cup spots are host India, Japan, Australia, China and South Korea, which won Group E of the qualifying round.
The Philippine Women’s Football Team is backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, the MVP Sports Foundation and team manager Jefferson Cheng.
“We are truly delighted by this remarkable achievement by our Philippine Women’s National Team,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta. “Qualification to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is a testament to the hard work and sacrifice made by the players and the coaching staff and the support of sponsors and stakeholders. But we cannot rest on this achievement. We will leave no stone unturned in preparing the team in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where the Top 5 teams will qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.”
“This is a major achievement for our Philippine Women’s National Team given the hardships the team had to go through due to the pandemic,” added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “The team’s hard work and efforts were duly rewarded by qualifying for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup as one of 12 teams that will vie for the five FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 spots. We could not have achieved this if not for the dedication of the players, the coaching staff, our supporters, and of course our fans.“