Decades of obscurity have come to an end as the Philippine Women’s National Football Team has earned the right to be called the queens of Southeast Asian football.
In front of 8,257 fans in attendance, the Filipinas prevailed 3-0 over the Thailand War Elephants to win the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship, Sunday evening, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
This victory marks the first time the Philippines has won any competition under the AFF banner.
“Look, obviously the players are pressured, but for me, it’s easy,” said Filipinas coach Alen Stajcic. “I can yell at them whether it’s their first round game or a final, but, you know, for them to get through these grueling schedule?”
“That’s 10 games we’ve played in the 25 days across two continents, and to finish like that we so much heart, so much spirit, and determination is really a testament to them.”
“And just a quick one, we adjusted, we rotated the lines. All our set pieces — we spent hours and hours, and on a night like tonight, it paid off.”
The Filipinas gained a dream start in the contest thanks to Jessika Cowart. The 5-foot-8 defenser headed the ball past Thailand goalkeeper Chotmanee Thongmongkol off a Tahnai Annis corner in the 8th minute of the match.
Stajcic’s wards then managed to double their cushion in the 20th minute of the match. Katrina Guillou finished from close range to send Rizal Memorial rocking.
Come the second half, the War Elephants started aggressively but the Filipinas kept them at bay.
Frustration grew in the Thai camp as Ploychompoo Somnuek and Kanyanat Chetthabutr received yellow cards for fouls away from the ball.
Somnuek pushed Eva Madarang while the latter was being substituted for Malea Cesar. Meanwhile, Chetthabutr was cautioned for a confrontation against Hali Long.
Sarina Bolden capped off the evening with her eighth goal of the tournament with a header in the 89th minute.
Ultimately, it was the Filipinas’ night to enjoy as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup-bound squad pulled through to achieve another milestone.
Philippines XI: McDaniel (GK), Sawicki, Long, Annis ©, Bolden, Harrison, Madarang, Quezada, Guillou, Eggesvik, Cowart.
Thailand XI: Thomongkol (GK), Saenkhun, Jerratanapavibul, Philawan, Somnuek, Panyosuk ©, Rodthong, Pram-Nak, Pengngam, Chetthabutr, Aupachia.