National women’s football coach Alen Stajcic praised the resolve of his squad after completing a stunning 1-0 win over Thailand to begin the AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign in India.
Stajcic couldn’t be happier with the way the players responded, given the circumstances of how the team dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak plus the fact that Thailand had beaten the Philippines in all of the previous 12 meetings.
Key striker Sarina Bolden was the lone player who was not on the squad list going into the match while some non-playing members of the Philippine contingent had to go into isolation.
“The win gives us a huge confidence and three points on the board, considering the difficulties we had to face in the last 24 hours with a small outbreak that put some players in isolation,” the Australian coach said in the post-match press conference.
“For us, to have a performance like this under such an extreme sort of difficulty just shows how far they have come. They did well, they showed resilience and it shows the quality of this team,” Stajcic added after the contest held Friday, Jan. 21 in Navi Mumbai.
Chandler McDaniel’s goal in the 81st minute, aided by a defensive blunder by Thailand, put the Philippines in a good position to secure a quarterfinals berth through Group B after beating one of Southeast Asia’s premier sides.
The Philippines looked promising at the start, and could have taken the lead 13 minutes after kickoff when Katrina Guillou’s goal was disallowed due to an offside.
There were also a number of good chances that came in the way for the Pinay booters even as goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel had an impressive showing behind the sticks in her first national team start and Guillou also playing well as one of the starting defenders.