Archrivals Malaysia and Singapore both played a physical game yesterday but could only muster a scoreless draw at the start of the 12th AFF Football Federation Women’s Championship at the rainswept Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Playing under rainy weather for most of the match, neither squad could score a breakthrough on either side’s defenses as they gained a point each in the opening match of Group A of the tournament hosted for the first time by the Philippine Football Federation.
Malaysian striker Henrietta Justine had a clear shot in the waning seconds of the match but her last-gasp booter from 10 yards was wide and off the mark.
Singapore had its clearest chance in 59th minute as forward Danielle Tan Li Ern had apparently broken away from the Malaysian backline, only to have referee Aung Sein Cho rule her offside.
There were some scary moments for Singapore as goalie Nurul Azurin Mazlan and skipper Steffi Singh collided in mid-air in the 29th minute as they scrambled to clear the ball inside the penalty box.
Looking shaken, Mazlan lay on her back for a couple of minutes before finally getting up, looking none the worse for wear.
The two squads resume their campaign tomorrow with Singapore playing the Philippines at the Rizal Stadium while Malaysia takes on debuting Indonesia at the Imus Stadium in Cavite.