MUMBAI – Against one of the tournament’s top sides, the Philippine Women’s National Team showed its grit and resilience in a 0-4 defeat to Australia in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Hardly given a chance, the Filipinas fought the Matildas to a stalemate in the opening half before Australia’s record goal scorer, Sam Kerr, broke the deadlock, boosting her team to a second straight win in Group B.
With Thailand winning over Indonesia, 4-0, the Philippines dropped to third spot, although the Thais will still have to play Australia in its last group match on Thursday.
The Philippines beat Thailand, 1-0, last Friday in a stunning upset. The 12-team tournament has now been reduced to 11 nations due to India’s withdrawal from the tournament since it was not able to field the required 13 players for its Group A match against Chinese-Taipei last Sunday.
Based on tournament regulations, India’s match against Iran will also be null and void, which means the results against the last placed team in the two other four-teams groups will no longer count in the classification at the end of the group stage. The Top 2 teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals together with two third placed teams.
Sarina Bolden returned to the lineup as coach Alen Stajcic made four changes from the first match including goalkeeper Kiara Fontanilla getting a start in her debut in place of Olivia McDaniel.
The Philippines actually had the first big chance of the match when Chandler McDaniel was sent through by Bolden in the sixth minute only for her strike partner to send a shot wide.
The first half proved to be a showcase of the Filipinas’ grit and discipline as they thwarted every Aussie attack with Fontanilla producing some stellar saves and Hali Long and Dominique Randle dealing with dangerous balls inside the area.
“We proved that we can be a hard team to beat. That we’re a resilient team,” said head coach Alen Stajcic, who faced the team he previously coached. “Having to manage that and to come out and to play like that shows how much fight and spirit this team has and the Philippines has to be proud of.”
Australia turned the up the intensity in the second half with Kerr finally ending the resistance in the 51st minute with a header from a corner.
The second goal came three minutes later after Randle’s headed clearance sailed over Fontanilla and into the back of the net.
Emily Van-Egmond made it 3-0 in the 68th minute before Mary Fowler rounded out the result with an 88th minute goal.
The Philippines looks to clinch their place to the knockout stages when it battles Indonesia on Thursday at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.