Filipinas take some momentum heading into critical clash with Vietnamese
As spectacular how the Filipinas stayed alive in the women’s football competition of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games Sunday, Team Philippines has no other recourse but to win its final group match against defending champion Vietnam on Tuesday to fan their medal hopes.
And then Sarina Bolden and Co. will have to wish for something unlikely.
Bolden had a last-gasp goal for a 1-0 victory over Malaysia in Group A action, before the Filipinas close out classification against the formidable Vietnamese Tuesday.
The task to stay alive is simple: Beat Vietnam, a country the Philippines defeated last year in the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship.
Advancing outright is a bit complicated, as the Philippines would end in a three-way tie with an expected Myanmar win over Malaysia also Tuesday. The tie will be broken via goal difference.
The only way for the Filipinas to march on outright is for the Malaysians to upset the Burmese.
Bolden’s winner, which came before the referee blew the final whistle, enabled the Philippines to post identical three points with Myanmar, the same team that handed the Filipinas a 1-0 defeat in the tournament opener.
Myanmar fell, 3-1, to Vietnam, which continues to pace the group with six points, three clear of both the Philippines and Myanmar.
The win in the AFF gives the Filipinas a lot of belief that they can secure the result they want against one of the region’s perennial powers.
But to do that, coach Alen Stajcic and his charges are hoping to put themselves in a position to be better than their two games in the competition.
A frustrated Philippine side had plenty of chances to find the back of the net, only to be denied by a resolute defensive effort by Malaysia.
It took the final seconds of extra time before Bolden delivered a header off Sara Eggesvik’s free kick to save the Filipinas from a disappointing result and outright elimination.
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