Skipper Tahnai Annis scored a brace as the Philippine outplayed Singapore, 7-0, yesterday to seize the Group A lead in the AFF Women’s Championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Doing a yeoman’s job for the Filipinas, Annis scored in the 10th minute off an own-goal by Singapore goalkeeper Beatrice Tan, then had a long looping header in the 19th to anchor the hosts to their second straight win following a 1-0 upset of Australia last Monday.
With her accurate crosses, Annis set up Sarina Bolden, who scored the game-winner against Australia, with another header in the 38th minute and newcomer Kaya Hawkinson, who scored on a glancing header 11 minutes into the second half.
Slipping past two Singapore defenders, Isabella Flanigan opened the floodgates in the 8th minute, Sara Eggsevik had one in the 56th and Anicka Castaneda, who came off the bench in the second half, added the seventh on a follow-up in the 69th.
With the victory virtually ensured, Annis earned a well-deserved respite and was relieved by Camille Rodriguez in the 58th minute.
With their second consecutive win, the charges of coach Alen Stajcic sit proudly on top of Group A with six points while the Singaporeans absorbed their first loss in two matches after a scoreless draw with Malaysia last Monday.
Earlier, Thailand refused to be cowered by Australia yesterday, showing remarkable resiliency and rallied for a well-earned 2-2 draw against their fancied rivals.
Down at 1-2 at the break, the never-say-die Thais levelled the count through Ploychomphoo Somnuek, who struck with a nifty 20-yard volley that hit the top right corner of the net beyond Aussie goalie Jada Mathyssen-Whyman’s reach in the 60th minute.
Kanyanat Chetthabutr had earlier kept the four-time champions in the thick of the fight by scoring their first goal from near the midcourt line in the 40th minute, hitting the ball just hard enough past Mathyssen-Wyman, who strayed too far out of the net.
Following their 4-0 rout of Indonesia last Monday, the charges of Japanese coach Miyo Okamoto have four points and in second spot in group A
The Matildas, who dropped a 0-1 decision to the Filipinas two days ago, only have one point to show in two matches.
Aiming to maximize his bench, Stajcic made some changes in his starting lineup, tapping Inna Palacios, making her 50th cap, as the goalkeeper over Olivia McDaniel.
“Obviously this showed we have a deep bench and great unity of the team,” noted Stajcic in utilizing most of his players.
The Filipinas try to enhance their semifinal prospects when they go for their third consecutive victory as they face Malaysia, which drew 1-1 with Indonesia at the Binan Stadium, tomorrow.