THE Philippine women’s national football team did not get the sweep it was angling for in the opening round of the 2020 Olympic Football Asian Qualifiers but the Malditas are nonetheless advancing to the next phase of the competition after finishing second in their group.
Lost to Chinese Taipei, 5-0, on Tuesday at the Hisor Central Stadium in Tajikistan in their final game in Group A, the Malditas had to settle for second place with a 3-1 record.
It was enough though to advance to the second round of the qualifiers set for April next year where they hope to make further waves in the hopes of advancing to the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Against Chinese Taipei, the Philippines tried hard to keep in step with its opponent and was successful for much of the opening half.
But when the Chinese-Taipei broke through in the 41st minute care of Lai Li Chin, it was simply unstoppable for the Philippine Malditas.
After that goal, a second came three minutes later from Lee Hsiu-chin.
Three more goals came in the second half – Yu Hsiu-chin (57’), Ms. Lee (65’) and Lin Hsin-hui (81’) – to complete the rout for Chinese-Taipei.
The loss halted what was an impressive run for the Malditas in round one of the qualifiers that had them beating Singapore, 9-0, host Tajikistan, 3-1, and Mongolia, 5-1.
The second place finish in the first round of the qualifiers was a continuation of the spirited showing of the women’s team of late, including that in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 last April and the AFF Women’s Championship 2018 in Palembang in July.
In the second round, the Malditas and Chinese Taipei are joined by Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Myanmar, Nepal, Palestine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo