The national women’s football team put on a valiant effort before going down in defeat against highly-touted Australia, 4-0, Monday, Jan. 24 in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Mumbai, India.
Not even the tag of heavy underdogs could prevent the Pinay booters from making things competitive at the Mumbai Football Arena, keeping the match scoreless in the first half against the Australian side known as the Matildas.
Goalkeeper Kiara Fontanilla started behind the sticks and had an impressive showing in her first international cap to highlight the steady defensive showing in the opening 45 minutes.
But the Philippines couldn’t sustain its form, and Australia finally broke the ice in the 51st minute when Sam Kerr, who plays for English club Chelsea and her country’s record goalscorer regardless of gender, delivered the opener off a corner kick.
It was the break the Aussies needed to take the full three points as it shortly doubled their lead with an own goal by Philippine defender Dominique Randle before Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler made it cosmetic by adding two more for the final count.
Coach Alen Stajcic, who faced the country and team he handled from 2014 to 2019, was proud of the way his team took on one of the world’s best sides in women’s football.
“It was truly an outstanding performance against a world-class team,” Stajcic said.
The Philippines remained in second spot in Group B with three points, level with Thailand which later in the day rolled past Indonesia at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Tiebreaker advantage is in the hands of the Philippines following its shock 1-0 win over Thailand last Friday.
That also kept the Filipinas an inside track of a direct spot in the quarterfinals of the continental tournament which also serves as a qualifier for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
They wrap up their campaign on Thursday against Indonesia, which has lost all of its two matches including a massive 18-0 loss to Australia, at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.
Australia, which will host next year’s World Cup, is assured of a quarterfinals following its second win in the group for six points.
Stajcic made significant changes to his starting lineup, with Fontanilla and Sarina Bolden, who missed the Thailand match due to COVID-19 protocols, among those inserted.
Chandler McDaniel, who scored the match winner in defeating Thailand, nearly gave the Philippines a dream start in the early moments but her low attempt to the far post was too wide.
Australia put a lot of pressure on the Philippines the rest of the first half, but chances kept begging as Fontanilla and company thwarted all of the Matildas’ 10 attempts.
All good things didn’t last long for the Filipinas, and Australia ended the deadlock when Kerr produced her 55th career goal off a set piece.
Randle tried to clear the ball inside the box two minutes later after another Australia opportunity, only to head it in the back of the net to put the Philippines behind 2-0.
Australia got its third goal in the 67th as Van Egmond scored after another corner and Fowler struck near stoppage time with a shot from the center of the box.Attachments area