SYDNEY, Australia – Carleigh Frilles struck in each half as the Philippines trounced Papua New Guinea, 5-1, in the first of their two friendly matches last Sunday night at Western Sydney Wanderers Park here.
Captain Tahnai Annis, Eva Madarang and substitute Meryll Serrano were also on the scoresheet as the Filipinas dominated a PNG side that’s ranked two places higher than them in the latest FIFA rankings.
Pressing high and winning the ball in dangerous areas, the Filipinas tested PNG keeper Betty Sam’s goal early, but lacked the clinical finishing to back up their dominance early on.
Frilles jacked up her international goal tally to 10 with a neat left footed finish inside the box after Jessika Cowart intercepted Sam’s weak goal kick.
Annis doubled the advantage nine minutes later with a sweet finish after she was released by Kaya Hawkinson’s through ball.
The Filipinas began the second half the way they started the game, creating chances, but struggling to put away chances.
And PNG pulled a goal back 10 minutes after the restart with Calista Maneo’s looping header beating Kiara Fontanilla, who had earlier punched away an inswinging corner kick that was bound for goal.
The response was swift from the Filipinas as Madarang restored the two-goal cushion just moments later, heading home a fine cross from Malea Cesar on the right side.
Frilles picked up her second goal and 11th for the year at the hour mark, running past the defense before firing home from a tight angle.
The goal was Frilles’ last contribution to the match as coach Alen Stajcic made three changes, sending Reina Bonta, Bella Flanigan and Dom Randle for Maya Alcantara, Sofia Harrison and Frilles.
Six minutes later, Serrano and Cam Rodriguez were sent in for Cowart and Cesar. Playing only her second match with the Filipinas, Serrano got on the end of a lovely weighted pass from Flanigan before finding the bottom corner for the Filipinas’ fifth goal.
There was time for Stajcic to also hand Alicia Barker her Filipinas’ debut as she slotted in at right back following her introduction in the 77th minute.
The two teams clash again on Thursday 15 December also at Western Sydney Wanderers Park. The match will mark the last game of the Filipinas for the year.
The Filipinas is supported by team manager Jefferson Cheng, Philippine Sports Commission, and MVP Sports Foundation.