Malditas end 12-match losing skid vs Thais in AFC Asian Cup opener
CEBU CITY, Philippines– The Philippine Malditas finally beat perennial tormentor, Thailand, 1-0, on Friday night at the start of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2022 in Navi Mumbai, India,
However, the Malditas’ first victory and first three points in Group B weren’t short of surprises highlighted by their first win against their Southeast Asian neighbors in 12 meetings.
Thai goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing was, as always, a wonder at the gate after deflecting a clear shot from Filipino-American forward Chandler McDaniels in the 81st minute.
However, the ball slipped from Boonsing’s hands and went through her legs. She managed to chase the ball and grabbed it, but it had already crossed the line, resulting in the Malditas’ lone goal.
The Malditas earned three points for that victory in Group B, their very first win against the Thais in 12 previous meetings.
The Malditas was very aggressive throughout the match, pressuring the Thai defense no end.
First-timer Katrina Guillou’s attempt found the back of the net at the 13th minute coming from McDaniel’s lob.
The Malditas erupted in celebration, but the officials didn’t count the goal as Guillou was called offside. A few minutes later, Guillou had another good attempt from Sofia Harrison’s pass, but it hit the crossbar this time.
In the 32nd minute, Hali Long escaped the Thais’ defense after catching McDaniel’s long pass, but her shot missed its mark inside the goal area.
After halftime, the Thais gathered themselves and had numerous good attempts, but Olivia McDaniels deflected all of them, including a close one from Nutwadee Pram-nak in the 57th minute.
After breaking through the Thais defense, Quinley Quezada had her moment in the match, but Boonsing denied her shot.
The hard-earned win boosted the Malditas’ chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals along with the two of the best third placers from the three groups.
In the other match, Australia overwhelmed Indonesia, 18-0, to lead Group B on goal differential over the Malditas.
The Aussies will face the Malditas on Monday, January 24, at the Mumbai Football Arena.
The Malditas’ last group stage match is against Indonesia on January 27 at the Shree Shiv Chatrapati Sports Complex. /rcg
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