Lady booters face giant task versus Matildas

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Lady booters face giant task versus Matildas
The Philippines’ Eva Madarang (19) in action versus Thai rivals in their game Friday.

MANILA, Philippines — Ranged against world No. 11 Australia, underdog Philippines recognizes it will take a gargantuan effort today as it shoots for a massive upset and a berth to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarterfinals in India.

“We’ll try our hardest,” co-captain Hali Long said of the 3:30 p.m. Group B encounter at the Mumbai Football Arena (6 p.m. in Manila).

“We’ll make all the sacrifices we need to make – starting from our strikers all the way to the defense – and we just have to try our very best to close them down,” she added.

The Filipinas will ride the momentum of their historic 1-0 upset of Thailand last Friday. But they have to raise their game several notches up against the powerhouse Matildas, who pummeled Indonesia, 18-0, in their opening match.

“I’m sure a good team like that will still get through and capitalize on our lapses, but we have nothing to lose and we have everything to prove about where we’re at, where our level’s at,” said Long.

The game also presents a colorful subplot as Philippine coach Alen Stajcic faces his former squad for the first time since his controversial dismissal from the Matildas post in 2019.

“Of course, for him, and I’m sure for everyone, if we can snag ourselves a win, that’s the best-case scenario,” said midfielder Katrina Guillou. “But it’s not going to be an easy match whatsoever.”


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