Sarina Bolden felt that the concession of an early goal by the Philippine Women’s National Football Team against Chinese Taipei gave them the urgency they needed to eventually secure a resounding 4-1 victory in the second round of the 2024 AFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Perth, Australia.
Bolden scored a penalty in the 54th minute and executed a composed finish in the 83rd minute to seal the win for the Filipinas.
Her contributions to the victory allowed her to solidify her status as the country’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 28 goals in 44 appearances.
“Yeah, I mean, going into it, we already knew that they were going to be a tough team, Chinese Taipei, having seen them in the Asian Cup or Qualifiers a few years ago,” said Bolden. “We knew they were going to be tough opponents. We didn’t take them lightly. Honestly, that early goal was a surprise, but it certainly lit a fire under us. We knew we needed to do something.
“I think the penalty that Meryll (Serrano) drew definitely kick-started things, and then, you know, one goal led to another, and another until we were able to put a bunch of goals on the scoreboard today.”
For the Philippines to advance out of Group A, they would need to finish ahead of teams like Chinese Taipei, the host nation Australia, and Iran.
The Filipinas’ upcoming clash against the Matildas this Sunday promises to be an intense affair, as the tournament organizers moved the match to the Optus Stadium instead of the Perth Rectangular Stadium.
Optus Stadium can accommodate 60,000 fans, and the latest update is that the venue is sold out for the big game.
Despite the daunting odds, Bolden remains unwavering in her belief that the Filipinas can pull off an upset.
“We’ve faced Australia before. We know they are a tough opponent, but we always believe that we can secure the win,” she said.
“So, it’s going to require a lot of hard work and thorough planning, understanding the tactics we need against them, and then we’ll proceed from there.”