WOMEN'S ASIAN CUP QUALIFIERS - GROUP A: PHILIPPINES 4-0 UAE
Dushanbe: A strong Philippines performance helped the Southeast Asians secure a 4-0 win over the United Arab Emirates on Monday to get their AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 qualifying campaign off to a flying start.
The win saw the Philippines go second on goal difference in Group A behind table-topping Jordan, who had earlier beaten Bahrain 6-0, and ahead of Tajikistan – 1-0 winners over Iraq in the group’s other game.
Head coach Leticia Bautista Philippines’ side started brightly at the Republican Central Stadium, with Hanna Parado going close within the first five minutes and defender Alesa Nazareno’s free-kick being smartly saved by UAE goalkeeper Al Reem Al Baloshi.
Their incessant pressure finally paid off in the 14th minute, Eva Madarang breaking through the UAE ranks to fire home and hand her side a lead they richly deserved.
A trio of Philippines chances, with Al Baloshi standing tall for the UAE, came and went courtesy of captain Patrice Impelido, midfielder Jovelle Sudaria and a Claire Lim thunderbolt that thumped against the bar.
However, with time running out in the first half, Madarang was on hand to double her account and give her side a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
Picking up where they left off in the first half, the Philippines extended their lead once again in the 50th minute, a fierce Irish Navaja drive into the top right hand corner proving too much for Al Baloshi.
Navaja was to be instrumental in her side’s fourth goal just four minutes later, the 19-year-old finding fellow midfielder Sara Castañeda who made no mistake with her finish.
The UAE offered a degree of resistance through defender Salha Rashid’s 70th minute free-kick that came close, but it was a case of too little too late from the West Asian’s as the Philippines secured all three points to ensure they edged one step closer to next year’s finals.
Philippines head coach Letecia Bautista: “The girls really played well and they worked together, that was the most important part. The weather had a positive impact on our game because the girls kept moving, that made a difference. In the second half they were more relaxed, more composed, passing around, and we are happy with our performance. But we can still improve, there were lapses as well. Back in the Philippines we hadn’t scored this many in our games so we were really happy to have the four goals.”
UAE head coach Samir Landolsi: “This was our first official match and women’s football is relatively new in the Emirates. Our team has played for two years and the Philippines players are more experienced. The second goal just before half time was difficult one as it really dampened our mood going into the second half. It is okay to lose a match. Now, preparing for the match against Jordan, who are the favourites, I will say the same thing. We will have our chance against Bahrain, Tajikistan and Iraq.”