By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippine Malditas received a cruel second-half beat down from the Australian Matildas, 4-0, and absorbed their first loss in the ongoing 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
It was one of the most highly-anticipated showdowns in the AFC Cup after the Philippines ended their 13-game losing streak against the powerhouse Thailand team in their opening match.
Moreover, it was an unlikely reunion for the Philippine women’s football team head coach Alen Stajcic who mentored the Australian national team from 2014-2019.
The Malditas put up a solid defensive outing in the first 45 minutes of the clash that saw an Australian attack failing to penetrate the PH backline most of the time.
Chandler McDaniel of the Philippines had the chance to draw first blood against the favorites but her shot attempt waived off the goal post.
After McDaniel’s attempt, the Malditas immediately flipped the switch and asserted their dominance over the shorter and smaller lineup of the Philippines.
Six minutes after the first half, Australia quickly got on board courtesy of team captain Samantha Kerr who headed a corner kick perfectly.
The Matildas then just pressured the Philippine defense and got to the goal as much as they wanted with goals from Mary Fowler and Emily Van-Egmond added to the tally. Australia’s other goal came from the Philippines’ error after Dominique Randle headed the ball into their own goal post.
Despite the loss, the Philippines can still qualify for the AFC quarterfinals if they beat Indonesia in their next match while the Australian team already earned an outright seat to the next round.