Amazing Filipinas

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Amazing Filipinas
Jaclyn Katrina Sawicki of the Philippines disputes possession against a defender from Australia in the first half of the opening match for the Filipinas last night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — Fighting fiercely for every space, every possession against a younger but physically imposing rivals to tireless egging from its roaring supporters, the FIFA Women’s World Cup-qualified Philippine team made its awaited outing on home soil truly special.

With Sarina Bolden on the scoring end, the inspired Filipinas beat Australia Under-23, 1-0, for a rousing start in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship on a rainy Tuesday night in front of an ecstatic crowd at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Receiving a well-placed throw-in from Eva Madarang, Bolden fired a looping header over keeper Jada Matyssen-Whymann that bounced into the Australian goal at the 60th minute as the audience erupted in frenzy.

Bolden got a couple more chances to add to the lead down the line but just couldn’t find the mark this time.

Australia pressed for the equalizer but the Philippine defense led by custodian Olivia McDaniel and defender Dominique Randell stood pat and thwarted them no end.

Philippine coach Alen Stajcic welcomed the victory but tried to keep the Filipinas’ feet on the ground.

“It’s still a long way to go,” he said.

The well-applauded triumph placed the Filipinas on top of Group A with three points. The Pinay booters will seek to make it two in a row tomorrow against Singapore while the Australians will try to rebound against Thailand.

Earlier, Malaysia and Singapore battled to a scoreless draw in the Group A curtain-raiser.

The rival neighbors engaged in a physical encounter, conjuring five shots apiece on the wet turf but failing to convert en route to sharing the spoils.


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