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Stajcic lauds Filipinas' 'exceptional' defensive effort vs Thailand

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Stajcic lauds Filipinas' 'exceptional' defensive effort vs Thailand
Olivia McDaniel (in pink)
AFC

MANILA, Philippines — It's a cliche in sports to say that "defense wins games" and for the Philippine women's football team's breakthrough win over Thailand in the AFC Women's Asian Cup on Friday, it rang true.

Playing against an offense that's very much capable, the PWNFT leaned hard on its backline led by defender Hali Long and new starting goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.

Consistently putting out fires and stopping the Thailand offense on their tracks for the whole 90 minutes, head coach Alen Stajcic could not help but heap praise on his wards.

"Lots of things went right on the field. Our defensive effort was exceptional. We didn't give in to the three or four [second] half chances," Stajcic said during the post match press conference.

"We know how much danger [Thailand] has upfront, just the quality they've got it's got them to the last two world cups. Again, exceptional defensive effort. Hali Long at the back... Olivia was outstanding," he added.

Owing to her backline, Olivia was tested only on a number of chances.

Much of Thailand's runs to the goal were stopped well outside the box, as defenders Long, Dominique Randle, Kristen Bugay, Sofia Harrison and Katrina Guillou played very well.

Stajcic was also satisfied with his attacking third, as they were able to create many chances across the match.

"Upfront, we created six or seven goal opportunities but we actually scored off maybe the luckiest chance," Stajcic said.

The Philippines scored a breakthrough goal courtesy of Chandler McDaniel's shot that was mishandled by the Thai goalkeeper.

Next on the list for the Filipinas will be an even tougher opponent -- World No. 11 Australia.

But buoyed by this historic win, their first in 13 matches against Thailand, the PWNFT might just have enough on their sleeves to make it a competitive contest.

Philippines goes up against Australia on Monday.

AFC ASIAN CUP

FOOTBALL

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