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Philippines suffer heavy defeat against Thailand in AFF Women’s Championship curtain-raiser

The Philippines’ women’s national football team took a 4-0 beating at the hands of Thailand earlier today in the first game of the 2016 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship held at the Mandalarthiri Stadium in the northern Myanmar city of Mandalay.

Thailand, twice the winners of the regional competition including last year’s edition, took the lead in the 21st minute, just after a promising opening few minutes played by the daring Filipinas. Getting the ball rolling was Heather Cooke, who fired a shot routinely collected by the Thailand goalkeeper. Defender Alesa Dolino hoped to sustain the momentum with an audacious attempt. Renowned for her ability to shoot from astonishingly long distances, Dolino came a whisker away from shocking the champions. The FEU standout whipped a long shot from near the halfway line only for it to hit the crossbar.

The Filipinas’ eyes the unfortunate break as the next attempt on goal led to a goal, albeit on the other side of the pitch. A free kick in the 21st minute changed the tone of the game as Thailand’s Pitsamai Sornsai bundled the ball into the goal that ricocheted off the crossbar, leaving Philippines’ goalkeeper and captain Inna Palacios helpless in denying the Thai forward.

Facing a deficit, the Philippines tried to even the score almost instantly through Cristina delos Reyes’ effort. The UP talisman was in the end of a blazing move but was ultimately denied. The thirst to draw level, perhaps before the break, got the better of them as a moment of brilliance from Sornsai cushioned Thailand’s lead in the 32nd minute. The forward broke the offside trap before smoothly finishing past Palacios for the second time in the match. Halftime soon came with the score not entirely reflecting the complexion of the contest.

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In the second half, however, it was all Thailand as the Filipinas were outclassed by a team that made it to last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Five minutes after the break, Kanjana Sung-Ngoen made it three for the cruising Thais, slotting the ball off the rebound. The rout was completed in the 70th minute by Rattikan Thongsombut, capping off a sour start to the competition.

The Philippines will look to bounce back from the loss when they take on another powerhouse team Vietnam on Thursday. To be held at the same place, at the same kick off time of 3PM Myanmar time (4:30PM Philippine time), the match against the Vietnamese is a must win game for the Filipinas in order to keep their hopes of advancing to the semifinals alive.

Photo courtesy of Myanmar Football Federation

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